Christmas Bird Rally encourages kids to get out in nature this holiday season

·2 min read

When you think of Christmas birds, you may picture four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

But this holiday season, kids and teens across the province are being asked to turn their attention to other birds — the ones they can find in their own backyards, neighbourhoods and parks.

The Christmas Bird Rally is an activity organized by QuebecOiseaux. Between now and Jan. 10, youth aged seven to 17 years old and their families can pick a day to head out and take note of all the birds they see.

Participants are encouraged to share their drawings and pictures on social media using #RallyeOiseauxNoel.

The website offers an illustrated bird guide available in both English and French as well as bird-themed colouring sheets for younger kids.

Marie-Hélène Hachey, the citizen science programs coordinator with QuebecOiseaux, said the event has been going on in Quebec since 2015, but in the U.S. the Christmas Bird Count dates back about a century.

This year, due to the pandemic, QuebecOiseaux has adapted its usual event which sees children and teens go out on a birding expedition with an ornithologist.

Instead, it's asking people to go out on their own and report back their findings.

"So, they really do the whole process as citizen scientists. They act like professional ornithologists," she said.

Hachey said one of her favourite winter birds to spy is the snowy owl, which can be spotted throughout Quebec.

"It's surprising how many birds you can see in the winter," she said. "Birds are everywhere."

Listen to the full interview on CBC's All in a Weekend:

More information about the Christmas Bird Rally, including an illustrated list of birds and tips for the expedition, here.