It’s December, Thanksgiving is over and Mother Nature is treating us to previews of the winter season so that means it’s almost time for the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count!
If you like being out of doors in the cold weather, like meeting new people and most importantly, want to help make a difference, this is an adventure for you! By signing up for a Christmas Bird Count near you, you can help add to a century of community science data.
On Christmas Day in 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman began a new tradition, a Christmas Bird Census. His census aimed to count and observe the birds of North America rather than hunt them. Since that time, the census, now called the Christmas Bird Count, has grown to include thousands of locations in North America.
Now organized by the National Audubon Society, each local Bird Count is set up the same way – within a 15-mile diameter zone called a Circle. Each Circle is organized by a Compiler, an expert bird watcher, who reports all the data (and knows all the rules). This data is collected by volunteers like you who explore the Circle with a group of other bird lovers. The group reports on all the birds and species they see. Some volunteers will walk through a park or forest to ID birds, others will explore private land where the owners have given permission. To find the circle or circles near you, go to map and click on the search tool.
This data is then collected and organized by the National Audubon Society to give a continent-wide snapshot of how bird populations are faring and where species are living. This data is particularly helpful for bird scientists who use it to monitor population changes by revealing the impact of diseases, climate, environment and land development. Two-thirds of North American bird species are at risk of extinction from climate change.
Audubon's 120th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Saturday, December 14, 2019 through Sunday, January 5, 2020.