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MailTribune.com
  • Ashland bird count resumes after 70-year hiatus

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  • The Christmas Bird Count returns to Ashland during the holidays after a 70-year hiatus.
    Ashland bird enthusiasts Harry Fuller and John Bullock have brought the count circle to town, and members of the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Audubon Society will ply the circle's habitat throughout the day on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
    The circle ranges from the Billings Ranch at the northern part of town along Bear Creek to Mount Ashland, encompassing pieces of the Siskiyous and Cascades, as well as Emigrant Lake and the Ashland city limits.
    It's an area left off the national count tally since 1940.
    “Even I'm not old enough to remember that,” laughs Fuller, 64, of Ashland.
    About 30 people — including a couple from Bend — plan to take part in the count, Fuller says.
    The count was revitalized after a Eugene birder gave Fuller a copy of the last official Ashland count, he says. Reading the species list inspired Fuller to collect some fellow Ashland birders to fill out the circle.
    The group did an unofficial dry run last January to see whether the area habitat warranted a count, and they came away convinced that it did, Fuller says.
    The most common bird in the January count was the dark-eyed junco, with the starling second-most abundant, Fuller says.
    Not a single starling was tallied in the 1940 count, he says.
    Most CBCs are done on Saturdays, with the Medford and Little Applegate counts on Saturday, Dec. 18.
    Fuller says he didn't want to siphon counters from those events, so they chose the last Wednesday in December.
    Many of the Ashland birders are retired, so the mid-week day should not pose a scheduling problem for them, he says.
    Anyone wishing to participate in the count should e-mail fuller at anzatowhee@yahoo.com or Bullock at jas@opendoor.com

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