The 6th annual Minden Christmas Bird Count and Feeder Watch will be held on Saturday, Jan. 3.
This effort to identify and count all the individuals and species of birds in a 15 mile diameter circle is the longest ongoing scientific survey in the United States. The survey results have shown the rise and fall of bird populations, given early warnings for bird populations that are crashing, shown new increase of bird populations, tracked the introduction of foreign species like the Eurasian Collard Dove and shown the expansion or relocation of bird ranges across the United States. The data from the Christmas Bird Counts show the reaction of bird populations to natural occurrences like drought, changing temperatures, water/food availability, changes in habitat and local environmental changes.
The Minden Circle was started 5 years ago by Jim Woods from Birding Under Nevada Skies. In the 5 years of operation the Minden Christmas Bird Count has counted about 13,000 birds and identified 99 species during the one day counting event. As many as 25 local birders have taken part in the field count and 16 or more have taken part in the Feeder Watch effort. There are likely more than 100 species to be listed.
The Carson Valley is a popular stop for a migrating birds of all species from the western United States and Canada. The Rough-legged Hawk in one such visitor that migrates to this valley from it nesting grounds on the Tundra. There are many raptor species that winter over here and form the attraction of the Eagles and Agriculture Festival which will be held Feb. 22-24. The bald eagles that are the centerpiece of the Festival nested near Genoa for the first time ever some 5 years ago and have successfully hatched and fledged chicks each years. Through conservations efforts like the River Fork Ranch run by The Nature Conservancy the valley continues to be a valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife. There are even wild turkeys roaming the valley now.
All birders of every level are invited to join the Minden Count by contacting Woods at email@example.com or 775-720-7009 or 775-265-3914 for information. To take part in the Feeder Watch only, contact Mary Ellen Conaway at firstname.lastname@example.org. For field assignments meet on Saturday, Jan. 3 at Woodett’s Diner, 1492 Highway 395 at 7 a.m.