It’s the real life version of Pokemon Go. That’s how one birdwatching enthusiast described the Craven Christmas Bird Count.
“There’s sort of a hunt aspect to it,” explained compiler Brett Quiring. “We’re going for a few species that don’t occur elsewhere. There’s a lot more birds out there than someone who doesn’t bird, thinks.”
Quiring led a group of roughly 30 bird enthusiasts on this year’s count throughout the Lumsden region. Among the group were Annie McLeod and her boyfriend Joel Cherry. The pair have seen over 280 unique species of birds this year; the highest in the province.
“No one who has ever lived has seen every bird that there is,” Cherry marveled. “It’s kind of like an endless quest to see more and more.”
For the pair, it’s not just a friendly competition — it’s a unique date that they’ve been going on for the past three years.
“Some of the coolest moments of my life with her have been just in the middle of nowhere, maybe in a forest, or beside a stream just listening or watching a bird that’s new to both of us,” Cherry said.
An amateur wildlife photographer, McLeod captures these moments for the couple to take in afterwards. “We go home and we look at our pictures, and we find the one we like and she shares them online quite often,” smiled Cherry.
“Sometimes the experience of going through what we see after-the-fact is the most fun for me.”
While the pictures are stunning, the counts collected by the duo and the other enthusiasts taking part, provide vital information, according to Quiring.
He added that these numbers can be crucial in creating informed policy decisions, and providing insights into the surrounding ecosystems.
The bird count was hosted by Nature Regina, and the group is organizing another count in Regina, on Dec. 26. Those interested can contact Quiring through the group’s Facebook page.
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