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Christmas Bird Count seeks volunteers in Kensington and Carlos

Counting birds enables locals to get involved in citizen science, meet people and see birds. All skill levels are welcome as experienced birds can be paired with novices.

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Ben Eckhoff has been the naturalist at Lake Carlos State Park for 10 years.
Contributed photo
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DOUGLAS COUNTY — Two Christmas bird counts will happen in Douglas County again this year.

The first will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Kensington Rune Stone Park Visitor Center. The building will be open, and bathrooms will be available for those participating in the annual count.

Lake Carlos State Park Naturalist Ben Eckhoff will hand out materials so everyone can head out to their posts by 8:30 a.m.

The count will proceed as long the roads are safe in the wake of this week's wintry weather forecast.

The second bird count is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Visitor Center at Lake Carlos State Park. The building will be open, as well as its bathrooms.

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Eckhoff will be there to hand out materials, and teams will head out by 8:30 a.m. if not earlier.

Cedar Waxwing.jpg
Cedar waxwing

Counting birds enables locals to get involved in citizen science, meet people and see birds. All skill levels are welcome as experienced birds can be paired with novices.

The Audubon society calls the Christmas bird count, "The nation's longest-running community science bird project." It and other organizations use data collected to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action. When combined with other surveys, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past 100 years.

Christmas Bird Count data were instrumental in the development of Audubon’s Common Birds in Decline Report, which revealed that some of America's most beloved and familiar birds have taken a nosedive over the past 40 years, the society says.

People can also participate by counting birds at their home feeders. To arrange this, contact Eckhoff at 320-852-7200 or Benjamin.Eckhoff@state.mn.us.

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
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