Bosque hosting bird count for children

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Friends of The Bosque National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a Bird Count for Kids event from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Jan. 12.

Andrea Brophy, environmental education coordinator for the Bosque, says this is first year of hosting the event, which gets kids involved. Brophy said the bird count is usually an adult event. According to the Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge website, the bird watching event is hosted every year by the National Audubon Society.

The National Audubon Society hosts the events in December and early January, and this year the Friends of the Bosque National Wildlife Refuge teamed up with Central New Mexico Audubon Society to host the first annual event for children and their families. The bird count is usually a 24-hour event, and people count birds in a specific area, she said. For this event, parents and children will go to a designated area in the Bosque and will be split into two teams in the north and the south loop. At the end they will all come back together to add up the tallies and report on interesting finds, she said. Within each group there will be experienced bird watchers to help out with the counting and help identify the birds.

"The hardest part will be to count snow geese, because they group in thousands." Brophy said.

Brophy said the children should dress in layers and bring a lunch.

"I will provide an intro to bird workshops and I will provide the binoculars and bird guides," Brophy said.

They will meet at the visitors center and take off in refuge vans with a group leader, the group leader will then take them to different spots. According to Brophy, the group leaders will talk to the groups about the different habitats of birds. They will keep tallies of the birds they see and count them in groups. The event is mostly for fun and has freebies and posters to hand out at the end.

For more information or to register for the Bird Count for kids, call Brophy at 838-2110.

"I am looking forward to the kids having fun and being outside," Brophy said. "And I am looking for an opportunity for the kids to connect with their natural resources with their families, to spend quality time."