Are you ready? Have you signed up?
The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count is just around the corner. You can be a “citizen scientist” for a day. CBC has been a long-time program having originated in 1900 in reaction to a pastime of shooting birds competitively on Christmas Day.
Read all about the Christmas Bird Count program here http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count
Data is collected by volunteers on one day—a day falling between the dates December 14 and January 5. What’s collected on checklists will contribute to an assessment of the long term health status of North American bird populations. Trends in habitat fragmentation and threats from environmental factors can be studied.
Interested? Here’s what you need to do: Today, check online to see if there is a census circle planned in your area. http://app.audubon.org/cbcapp/findCircles.jsp?start=&state=US-GA&Submit1=Show+Circles
Follow the instructions to make contact with the designated leader beforehand by clicking on the circle’s ID code. Expect to pay $5 to help support the program.
Amateur field counters meet as a group (field party) under the leadership of an experienced CBS Compiler, so there’s supervision. Each circle has a specific route within a 15-mile diameter circle and counting is done methodically.
If you happen to live within the boundaries of a designated circle, there may be the opportunity to count birds at your own bird feeder, but be sure to make arrangements with Audubon first and get instructions in advance.
In February, there’s another chance to count birds with the Great Backyard Bird Count (BGGC) organized by Audubon and in cooperation with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It takes place President’s Day weekend. Contact Audubon for details.
So polish up those binoculars and have fun!
Photo of owl in Toronto taken by ‘qmnonic’ under the Creative Commons license, Flickr
Nancy R. Peck