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Christmas Bird Count At Wind Cave

Courtesy Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park is hosting its twentieth Christmas Bird Count this Sunday. Although cold snowy weather canceled the event once in the past, the outlook for this year looks good.
It may feel like spring time today and tomorrow, but temperatures are expected to drop more than 20 degrees by Sunday morning. Notwithstanding, Wind Cave National Park biologist Dan Roddy says the annual Christmas Bird Count tends to be a “go” no matter what.

”There was one year that we not able to conduct the count and it was mainly because the National Weather Service…or state police decided that there should be no driving unless emergencies,” Roddy recalls. “So we decided to cancel it.”

Barring such a decree, Roddy expects the usual number of a dozen or so birders to meet at the park on Sunday just after sunrise. They’ll be paired off, an experienced birder with a novice, and stay out until mid-afternoon keeping track of the birds they see.

Roddy says the number of bird species in the area drops from 100 to about 30 due to winter migrations. Many of the birds seen here at this time of year are generally from geographical areas north of the Black Hills…such as the bald eagle.

Anyone traveling through Wind Cave National Park on Sunday who wishes to include a bird they see in the Christmas Count can do so by visiting the park’s Facebook page.