It’s time for the Christmas Bird Count in Galapagos

09 Dec 19 /

For the fourth consecutive year the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Directorate are seeking the involvement of the community of Galapagos in the “Christmas Bird Count”, which aims to monitor the population status of the most emblematic landbirds of the islands. The count begins on the 1st of December and will last until the 31st December.

The “Christmas Bird Count” began in the United States and Canada in 1900 as an initiative to replace the customary bird hunts during the month of December, Christmas time. Currently bird counts are carried out in 25 countries and since 2016 in the Galapagos Archipelago.

The Christmas Bird Count is considered the oldest citizen science activity in the world, as it helps us learn about the status of bird populations through a census that is carried out by the general public.

Bird Count 2018. Photo by: Isabel Grijalva/CDF

Birgit Fessl, leader of the Landbird Conservation program at the Charles Darwin Foundation comments: “We are in the fourth year of the Christmas Bird Count in Galapagos and I am very excited that this time we are also part of the great adventure of Audubon. I hope that many people participate and discover the beauty of the birds”.

This year we will join the Christmas Bird Count organized by the National Audubon Society. The Audubon method has distinct requirements that must be met in order to obtain and record information. As well as collecting sightings from the community throughout the month of December, we plan to carry out the official Audubon monitoring method on Sunday 15th December on Santa Cruz island. To do this, we have established a 24km circular route that will take us to different sectors of the island; El Barranco, Tortuga Bay, Manzanillo and Media Luna. If you wish to participate in the Audubon census please contact our team before Friday 13th December: Juan Sebastián Torres +593 97033636  sebastian.torres@fcdarwin.org.ec, María José Guarderas  +593 99 904 8572 mariajose.guarderas@fcdarwin.org.ec.

Our priorities for the bird count are the Vermilion Flycatcher, the Galapagos Dove, the Galapagos Martins and the owls. But, don’t forget to also report any other landbird species such as finches or mockingbirds. To take part you can use your social media (Facebook, Instagram or Twitter), with the hashtag #ChristmasBirdsGalapagos or send the photo to birds@fcdarwin.org.ec or to WhatsApp +593 99 303 1330. Remember each sighting must include the date, time and location the photo was taken.

Vermilion Flycatcher, Galapagos. Photo by: David Anchundia, CDF.

This year we are excited to have the support of students from local schools and colleges through activities organized by the Ecology Project International (EPI), Mola Mola Club, and the Shark Ambassadors Science Club of the Charles Darwin Foundation.

We invite students, naturalist guides, park rangers and community members to participate in this year’s Christmas Bird Count. At the end of the initiative we hope to not only count birds, but also raise public awareness about the importance of these species for Galapagos and the need for their protection.

To be part of our initiative download the form here Bird count form.

Andres Cruz

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