The Neal Smith wildlife refuge in Prairie City is holding its annual Christmas bird county today (Saturday). Don’t double-check your calendar, organizer Jeff Krueger says they moved the bird count to this month to get more people involved. He says it’s based on the National Audubon Society’s Christmas bird count where people throughout the country conduct the counts to get an idea of the national bird population. Kreuger says the count is also important locally. Krueger says they need to get an idea of whether or not their restoration efforts are doing good things and if they’re gaining or losing species of birds. Krueger says as the cut down trees to restore prairie, they do push out some types of birds, but overall he thinks the count will show an increase. He says the areas they’re restoring to prairie they are seeing more songbirds coming back. Krueger says anyone is welcome to come out and count birds. He says they want to make it a learning experience, so they will pair those who don’t have much experience with those who have experience. He says they’ll begin counting at 8 a-m and continue until it’s finished.
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