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Volunteers sought for Christmas Bird Count, east end of Sanibel

By Staff | Sep 12, 2017

With the annual Christmas Bird Count scheduled in the near future, Sanibel Sea School Lead Marine Science Educator Johnny Rader is seeking volunteers to participate in the annual citizen science event on the east end of the island.

“We want to make it an event,” he said, adding that they will have donuts before it begins, followed by drinks at the Lighthouse Cafe afterwards.

The Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 7 a.m. to noon. Rader said he is heading up zone 1, which is comprised of Lindgren Boulevard to the Lighthouse, as well as the Sanibel Causeway.

“It’s something we have wanted to do for a while,” he said of the Sanibel Sea School, due to many of the staff members being expert birders. “We are all thrilled and excited to lead it this year.”

The volunteers will be tasked with seeking birds at such sections of the east zone as at the Lighthouse, searching by boat in the canals, or around the tip of the island, as well as the Sanibel Causeway.

“It doesn’t matter your level of birding expertise,” Rader said.

He said individuals are categorized as beginner, intermediate, or an expert. Rader said those who are beginner birders can take on the task of tallying what kind of birds are seen on a printout, while the intermediate birder can be the spotter. The expert can verify what was seen.

The Dec. 16 event is part of the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count.

Rader said one of the first things he did when he started at the Sanibel Sea School was contact the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society to get involved in the Christmas Bird Count. He said the first year he was able to gather 10 people to help.

“It’s the longest ongoing citizen science in the nation,” Rader said, of the Christmas Bird Count now in its 118th year.

Those interested in volunteering can call Rader at (239) 472-8585, or email him at johnny@sanibelseaschool.org.