Staring Saturday, May 5th the Palouse Conservation District in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will begin conducting bird point counts in the Cow and Thorn Creek watersheds located near Genesee, ID and Uniontown, WA. The bird counts will be conducted all four weekends in May on either Friday or Saturday according to volunteer’s availability. The goal of the monitoring is to quantify changes in avian populations due to riparian forest buffer plantings along five miles of stream in the Thorn Creek watershed. This will be the second year of this study. Thank you to everyone who came last year. We got some great data on species richness and diversity in the area and it would be great to continue that trend this year. The bird counts consist of driving to marked points located roughly a mile apart in the watersheds, identifying all birds detected by sight or sound over a five minute period, then driving on to the next point and repeating the process over again. There are 26 points in total, 13 in the Thorn Creek watershed (experimental points) and 13 in the Cow Creek watershed (control points). The monitoring will begin at dawn and take no more than three hours to complete although that time investment is significantly less with more volunteers being able to split up the routes. Knowledgeable birders who are interested in helping with the study and anyone who would like to improve their birding skills by riding along with an experienced birder during the counts are encouraged to volunteer. We will meet for the first count at the park in Genesee, ID located near the school at 6:00am on Saturday, May 5th. For more information or to sign up to volunteer please contact Anthony Hatcher by email anthonyh@palousecd.org or phone (980) 622-1087. This is a great way to see migrant species returning to our area and to help out in quantifying the effectiveness of habitat restoration on the Palouse. As mentioned above, the bird counts will be conducted every weekend in May so even if you cannot make it on May 5th, there will be additional days to volunteer.