Annual refuge bird count to take place

The Muscatatuck Christmas Bird Count … the annual "bird inventory" of the refuge, will take place today.

The volunteer-conducted count will start at 7:30 a.m. at the Visitor Center and everyone is welcome. New birders will find the count a great opportunity to learn identification tips from more experienced people.

Participants can stay all day or a few hours.

Because of the government shutdown, a free hot lunch provided by Muscatatuck Wildlife Society has been cancelled and no buildings will be open.

A waterfowl count conducted Dec. 14 at the refuge, just east of Seymour off U.S. 50, found 26,107 sandhill cranes, 1,536 mallards, 775 Canada goose, 95 American wigeon, 23 green wing teal, 12 tundra swan, nine hooded merganser, six American black duck, two northern shoveler and two gadwall.