On Wednesday morning, at 8 a.m., Naturalists met at the Elizabeth Lake Tourist Information area to search for birds within the Nature Sanctuary. This was the fourth regular Wednesday session of 2016; we expect to continue meeting once a week until early July.
During this period, ‘citizen scientists’ carefully observe the wide variety of bird life above, beside and on the lake and it’s little islands. We report our findings to eBird, a real-time, online checklist program. Launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, eBird provides rich data sources for basic information on bird abundance and distribution.
In time, this data, collected by recreational and professional birdwatchers, will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the Western Hemisphere and beyond. Intrepid birders this week included Greg, Audrey, Jackie, Katrin, JoEllen, Helga and Daryl.
This week was particularly notable because we cracked 40 species. A month ago, we observed about 20 species, and a month from now, we’ll likely find over 60 species.
Elizabeth Lake is situated along the Pacific flyway; migratory birds are moving from their wintering areas into habitats which are suitable for breeding, nesting and raising young. It’s never easy for birds, they must cope with adversity, and produce young that are strong and smart enough to return to wintering areas. Some migrations are relatively short while others involve thousands of kilometers. Many birds will know that Elizabeth Lake can supply all their needs, so they do not need to proceed any further. It is interesting to notice the new birds each week as well as the absence of some species which have gone through already.
We always welcome the public to join us on Wednesday mornings, and, thanks to Cristina, this week we have a Naturalist display at the Tamarack Mall. Please visit rockymountainnaturalists.org
Submitted by Daryl Calder on behalf of Rocky Mountain Naturalists