This month, local birders can participate in a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in three Midcoast areas. The Pemaquid/Damariscotta CBC occurs on Saturday, Dec. 17, the Thomaston/Rockland CBC on Sunday, Dec. 18, and the Bunker Hill/Jefferson CBC on Monday, Dec. 19. All three counts have circles 15 miles in diameter, with teams of birders to identify every bird they find. According to the Bunker Hill/Jefferson coordinator, Jeff Cherry, this effort is fun with a purpose. “We want to be as thorough as we can, because the data we gather helps document changes in bird populations. This is citizen science on a large scale, because these counts happen nationwide every year, and they have been happening for over one hundred years.”

Local birders who would like to join in are welcome. All that is necessary is some experience with birding, a pair of binoculars and warm winter gear. There will be uneven terrain, and probably some chilly wind off the ocean, so this is birding for the hardy. There are usually some unexpected birds found, such as late American Robins, so that can make braving the winter conditions worthwhile. Sometimes an unusual sighting makes it a special day. Dennis McKenna, coordinator for Pemaquid/Damariscotta, has hopes for a really rare bird, “Our teams will definitely keep an eye on the sky for the Steller’s Sea Eagle, who we hope will return to the mid-coast area this winter. That would be a real coup for a Christmas Bird Count.”

For more information, contact the Thomaston/Rockland coordinator, Delia Mohlie, via email at mohlie295@yahoo.com or by phone at 832-5091.