Morgantown Residents Participate in 113th Annual Audubon Bird Co - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Morgantown Residents Participate in 113th Annual Audubon Bird Count

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MONONGALIA COUNTY -

The 113th Annual Audubon Bird Count started Saturday, December 15th.This event brings out birders from all over the world to search for and document birds in their area. The bird count has been a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society for more than 100 years.

The Mountaineer Holiday Bird Count is the local group for this national event.

LeJay Graffious is the regional coordinator for the Mountaineer Holiday Bird County and has been doing this for more than 30 years.He is happy to see how the group has grown.

"My first one was in 1976 and that year there were just two participants and we have since grown to today we have four groups out with over 20 folks," said Graffious. "Some people went out around midnight and were looking for owls and most of us started around eight o'clock this morning."

Dee Fulton has been a birder for about 10 years. She said coming out to the bird count has plenty of benefits.

"For me it's educational, it stimulates my mind, it's social, I love interacting with fellow birders," said Fulton. "And it's spiritual component of just connecting with God's creation and appreciating the beauty of our birds," Fulton said.

The weather Saturday was mild and sunny but for birders that weather was no good.

"We need some foul weather to push the water fowl out of the skies and onto the lakes. And when you have cold weather the streams and creeks start to freeze and it pushes them onto the Mon River. So today has been kind of slow but we've had some good birds," Graffious said.

Early Saturday morning one birder got site of a long eared owl. This is the first time the bird has been counted in the area. A Sharp-Shinned 3 Hawk, according to the birders, was the best sighting of the morning.

The birders have three days before and after the bird count day to add birds to the list.

"Jay and I did go out a couple days ago for the specific purpose to try and rustle up a grouse and we were successful," Fulton said.

The Annual Audubon Bird Count lasts for two weeks, until January 6th. Birders all over the world will be taking count until their time is up.