Christmas Bird Count
By Arleone Dibben-Young
The 116th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place on Molokai on Monday, Dec. 19. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is an annual nationwide count that takes place in established areas during the same time period in the month of December. The information compiled over time provides a useful tool indicating bird population trends.
The Topside Molokai count extends 6.5 miles out from a point near Kualapu`u and is divided into three locations. Seabirds, shorebirds and waterfowl are counted via a northern pelagic route that includes the cliff known as “Cables” on Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Molokai Irrigation System’s Kualapu`u Reservoir, and a second cliff location where seabirds can be viewed. Forest birds are typically counted at the Waikolu Lookout and The Nature Conservancy’s Kamakou Preserve (weather permitting). Waders and waterfowl are surveyed along the south shore; Goodfellow Bros. Koheo wetland, the Kaunakakai Wastewater Treatment Plant, the low tide mudflats at the Kapuaiwa coconut grove, the aquaculture farm at Palaauwai, and Kakahaia National Wildlife Refuge in Kawela (if ponds are inundated). The Kalaupapa peninsula is the fourth route in the count circle and is limited to five participants which must be permitted one week before the count date.
Reservations are requested for the count, which begins at 7 a.m. at the residence of organizer Arleone Dibben-Young, located exactly at the 4 mile marker in Kawela. A $5 donation benefits the National Audubon Society for count compilation. Participants are published in “American Birds.” Molokai residents are encouraged to participate – no age is too young to learn about birds and no experience is necessary. Participants are asked to wear sturdy shoes and bring water, snacks and a lunch. For more information contact Arleone at 553-5992.