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For the Birds – Part 1

Annual Christmas Bird Count,

Lee County Sheriff Lt. Mike Sawicki urged everyone at the most recent Captiva Community Panel meeting not to be overly alarmed if they saw strange groups of people traipsing through their backyards.

Sawicki, an avid birdwatcher, explained these intruders weren’t apt to be thieves or terrorists, but rather participants in the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, which was Saturday, Dec. 19, on Sanibel and Captiva.

Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year, legions of birders adopt 15-mile birding circles, where they count numbers of birds they spot and identify them by species. This happens not only all over the United States, but in other countries as well. There are more that 2,400 birding circles worldwide, with nearly 1,900 in this country.

More than 72,600 birders nationwide participate in the count.

Over the past 116-year existence of the Christmas Bird Count, the data has helped scientists track and monitor birds.

According to Jim Griffith, president of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, these two islands typically finish in the top 10 nationwide for the number of local participants in the birding circle here. He said this area also regularly leads the nation in the number of Osprey sightings during the count.

Close to 130 local birders took part in this year’s count, making for plenty of birding tales to tell. More info to come.

Thanks to our friends at the Santiva Chronicle for the bird’s eye scoop!

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