01-19 01 pheasant along road jw .jpg (copy)

A rooster pheasant, like this one spotted in Rochester in 2016, are one of many birds that can be spotted in winter in Southeast Minnesota.

WINONA — The Winona Bird Club is asking volunteers to take a look around the region on Dec. 14 and take part in the Audubon Society's 120th Annual Christmas Bird Count. 

The effort is part of a hemisphere-wide survey at more than 2,500 locations aimed at counting birds in the Winona area. The count begins at 7 a.m. at Mugby Junction, 451 Huff St., where organizers will provide guidance, route maps, count forms and experienced counters to help novice birders.

In 2018, Winona birders counted 3,276 individual birds representing 48 species, while bird-watchers covered more than 375 miles by car and on foot. The Winona Bird count circle includes the 15-mile radius around Lake Park Lodge, divided into 12 segments. Each group of birders follows a route map, traveling every road within the assigned segment.

Data from the count is compiled with others from the state in the databases of the Minnesota Ornithological Union and the Audubon Society websites, and relays Wisconsin sightings to a database editor there. The data helps scientists observe changes in species’ populations and year-round ranges. They study habitat needs and propose land-use strategies.

Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this citizen-science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. Those who prefer can count birds at their feeders from the comfort of their own homes. For more information, contact Lorraine Killmartin at lkilmartin5727@msn.com or 452-5727.

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