Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
IZEMBEK: Refuge's Annual Christmas Bird Count Delivers a Fun Day in the Field.
Alaska Region, January 20, 2015
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Cold Bay school students observing and identifying birds during the 2014 Christmas Bird Count, Cold Bay, Alaska.
Cold Bay school students observing and identifying birds during the 2014 Christmas Bird Count, Cold Bay, Alaska. - Photo Credit: Stacey Lowe/ USFWS

By sunrise on December 18, 2014, the Cold Bay Christmas Bird Count was underway as several students and Izembek staff donned their binoculars and bird field guides and headed out on the refuge. Students from the Cold Bay School assisted Izembek Staff with conducting nearly eighty percent of the local count. The students had the opportunity to test out high powered optical equipment while observing many different bird species. They also learned the importance of keeping accurate records and detailed notes. Members of the community completed the remainder of the count and volunteered several hours of their day to make observations in critical areas around town.


In total, 24,186 birds were counted during the survey and participants recorded 25 different species of birds. These results were compiled and submitted to an online database where the data are publically available (http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count). Last years count (2013) observed 2,005 birds and 33 species. The number of birds in 2014 was substantially higher than 2013 survey results, however, eight fewer species were observed compared to 2013. The most abundant species counted was Pacific black brant (23,000). The high number of brant observed from shore was likely due to the extremely calm conditions that resulted in excellent visibility over Izembek Lagoon.

After the bird count, members of the community joined together for a potluck celebration followed by a trivia game night where questions focused on refuge birds and their habitats. There was an impressive turnout with almost one third of the town (>20 attendees) participating in the evening activities. Attendees displayed an impressive knowledge of local bird species and waterfowl hunting regulations.

Contact Info: Carol Damberg, 907-532-2445, carol_damberg@fws.gov
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