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Bird count May 14 at preserve

By Staff | May 10, 2016

International Migratory Bird Day is Saturday, and what better way to celebrate it than to go into nature and find them for yourselves.

There will be a bird count from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday at Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve East at 10130 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers, hosted by Lee County Parks & Rec and Conservation 20/20.

The first-time event is free and open to the public.

Participants will meet at the east entrance and begin anytime after 8 a.m. and record their bird sightings. The preserve includes an ADA-accessible one-third-mile boardwalk and several miles of hiking trails through multiple habitats.

Jason Boeckman, coordinator of the event with Conservation 20/20, said the preserve is happy and excited to host the event, and that they expect to see a plethora of birds.

“They can include warblers and birds of prey such as hawks. Residential birds can include woodpeckers,” Boeckman said. “We’re hoping for a good amount of people who have a lot of energy.”

Participants will return to the preserve parking area at 11 a.m. to share and discuss their sightings, which can include both migratory and non-migratory birds.

Bird counts are not new to the area. The Audubon Society does them quite frequently. Boeckman said this may be the first time Lee County has put on such an event.

Although most migratory birds have already headed back north by this point, there is still a great opportunity to observe them.

As this is a non-competitive event, participants can record their sightings at their own pace and leisure. Also, the results will not be put into official books of record.

“Conservation 20/20 wants to provide regular programming for its residents and visitors to explore the preserves and appreciate its birds and wildlife,” Boeckman said. “At the beginning of the year they do a national bird count. We decided to localize it and do it on Migratory Bird Day.”

“Although most migrating birds will have already migrated north from this area by early May, there is still an opportunity to observe some migratory birds,” said Conservation 20/20 Land Manager Cathy Olson in a statement. “Resident bird species are also included in this event, so any bird observed will count.”

No registration is required. Suggested items to bring include water, hat, sunscreen, binoculars, camera, and a notebook and pen for recording bird observations. Please wear closed-toed shoes appropriate for hiking.

For additional information about the bird count, please visit www.Conser-vation2020.org or call 204-1125.