Armed with binoculars, a bird guide and a checklist, volunteers and researchers like Joe Abbate were bird counting locally on Saturday. “Everything I hear and everything I see, I write it down," Abbate explained. Abbate has been tracking the number of birds and species in our area for the past ten years. With the help of dozens of volunteers, birds are counted throughout New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. He said, “It's just a way to make sure that everything in the avian world is going correctly as it should. Birds are bio-indicators of our environmental health so they can tell us how the environment is functioning and that's why we like to look at them and study them." With a good eye and some patience, Abbate spotted more than fifty different species around Greenfield Lake alone. Last year, a total of 238 species were counted. Abbate said, bird counting is the best tell-tale sign to determine trends in our ecosystem. Last year we had a nice flock of storks, we had about five or six storks but this year they are not around." Though, Abbate did not see any significant declines in the bird population, he stated protecting the environment will ensure the health of the feathered friends who call it home. The Cape Fear River Watch organization offers bird watching tours. If you are interested, you can call 910-762-5606.
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