LFCC to Jointly Sponsor Local Christmas Bird Count

For Immediate Release:
December 4, 2006

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
svoth@lfcc.edu
Phone: 540-868-7134

MIDDLETOWN, Va. – From Dec. 14, 2006, to Jan. 5, 2007, individuals in all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies and Pacific Islands will participate in the 107th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society.

The CBC is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear within a 24-hour period. The survey is not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day.

Marking the 31st year for the local count, on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society and Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) will jointly sponsor the Northern Shenandoah Valley area’s CBC. In the event of extreme weather conditions such as a heavy snowstorm, the local count will be rescheduled.

LFCC instructors Rob and Ann Simpson serve as organizers and compilers of the event. “First-time volunteers are always welcome. Every pair of eyes and ears helps; the more people involved the better the coverage. Novice observers are paired with experienced birders who pass on traditions, secret ‘hot spots’ and how to find birds,” Ann said.

“The Christmas Bird Count is the longest continuous wildlife census in the world,” Rob said. “And since the Audubon Society has made the historical data available as an online resource, we frequently use this resource in our biology classes at LFCC for analysis purposes. It’s exciting for students to see how data they have helped collect can be used in a real-life scientific application.”

In 2005, 50 volunteers counted 96 species and 39,544 individual resident birds for the Northern Shenandoah Valley area. During the 106th annual CBC last year, over 61 million birds were counted in over 2,000 counts by volunteer participants.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley count area is from southern Winchester to Front Royal and is divided into 17 sections. Teams of three to four volunteers are assigned to cover each region as thoroughly as possible. The teams usually try to be in the field from sunrise to sunset. Most teams typically drive around their sections in cars and stop at convenient areas to look for birds. Teams whose count sections fall within the boundaries of towns look at bird feeders, while other teams will hike through wooded areas to search for woodland birds.

The data gathered from the CBC yield valuable insights into the changes in numbers and types of birds recorded. Birds are extremely sensitive to various environmental threats such as habitat destruction and pollution. Because census data is conducted within the same boundaries each year, the results tabulated over a period of years show changes in the numbers and kinds of birds seen.

For more information about the history of the CBC and data from 1900 to present, interested individuals may visit the Audubon Web site at http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/.

For more information about the Northern Shenandoah Valley area’s local CBC, interested individuals may contact Ann Simpson at (540) 868-7220 or asimpson@lfcc.edu.

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Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

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