Mild temperatures will make for good bird counting on Saturday, Dec. 15, when the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host the Family Christmas Bird Count at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area.
“The event we’re doing is coinciding with the annual bird count, but we’re gearing it more towards family and kids, who maybe have never done it and want to learn more about the birds in the area,” said Amber Shiltz, Nebraska Wildlife Education Coordinator for the Conservancy.
The Bird Count is modeled after the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, an annual effort since 1900 that has challenged citizens to observe and record local bird populations during the holiday.
Lake Minatare is closed at this time of year through Jan. 15, but will be open only for the birdwatchers.
“It’s really important to look at birds and how they are using their winter habitat,” Schilz said. “So, it will be cool for people to come out and see what birds are using Lake Minatare, as their winter habitat.”
The event will be from 9 to 11 a.m., and birdwatchers are asked to meet at the Scout’s Rest Campground in Lake Minatare. Attendees will learn birdwatching tips, tally the species they observe, and be treated to snacks and hot cocoa.
A Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles but the event is open to the public free of charge.