Payson Birders Help National Count

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The count is in -- the Payson Christmas Bird Count, that is.

Since 1900, the National Audubon Society has conducted bird counts throughout North America, but Payson never has been included due to a lack of volunteers. That is changing.

Payson Birders decided to get involved and, after running the count on a trial basis last year, held their first official count on Dec. 17, 2005.

It was 14 degrees in the morning when 14 participants headed out to spend the day identifying and counting all the birds they saw or heard in and around Payson. The group devoted 31 hours of time and covered 76 miles of territory on foot and by car.

They saw 78 species and counted almost 2,600 birds.

Numerically, waterfowl dominated the count, as they were easy to view and count at Green Valley Park. Also found at the park was a small flock of Snow Geese and a single Ross's Goose. Local residents who participated in the count were: Barbara Brenke, Diane Brown, Tom Conlin, Diana Garrity, Jim Garrity, Dave Hallock, Rick Heffernon, Grace Knowles, Beverly Malmberg, Nancy Malmberg, Peggy Newman, John Peel, Sue Schuett, and Joanne Travis.

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