Bemidji area bird counts are this weekend
BEMIDJI – The annual Christmas winter bird counts will be held in the Bemidji area, Lake Bemidji State Park and Walker on Saturday while the bird count at Itasca State Park will be Sunday. All who wish to participate in Bemidji’s bird count should meet at 7 a.m. at the Minnesota Nice Café in downtown Bemidji. Participants will be assigned coverage areas and how best to cover those areas. The birders will end their day at dusk at Brigid’s Pub in downtown Bemidji. The Lake Bemidji State Park bird survey will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and birders should meet at the park’s visitor center. The annual count provides a record of the birds that winter in the park. On this year’s birding route participants can travel through hardwood and pine forests either on foot or on skis – depending on snow conditions. Birders of all levels of expertise are invited and participants should bring binoculars and field guides. For details call 218-308-2300. The Walker area bird count participants are asked to meet at 8 a.m. at the Outdoorsman Café in Walker for maps and other information. Anyone wishing to join the event is asked to contact Ben Wieland at Deep Portage Conservation Reserve (218-682-2325). The Itasca State Park count will be Sunday and participants should meet at the Jacob Brower Visitor Center between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Officials will be on hand to answer questions and assign territories. The count will last as long as there is daylight. Participants will meet for lunch at noon (bring your own bag lunch and refreshments) and will gather at the end of the day to share their observations. Birders are asked to bring skis or snowshoes which will come in handy during the afternoon when the birds typically are inactive and birders usually head for the remote areas of the park. Count officials report that the conifer stands are always great places to observe finches and owls and that just about any Minnesota winter species, and some unusual visitors, can be spotted near the open waters of the Mississippi River. For details of the Itasca State Park count contact park naturalist Connie Cox at 218-699-7251.