Monday, December 5, 2011

The Christmas Bird Count

Every year from mid-December to early January thousands of ornithologists, conservationists and bird-lovers across the Western Hemisphere take place in the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Started by the National Audubon Society in 1900 as an alternative to winter bird hunting, the Christmas Bird Count has grown significantly since it began, regularly drawing over 50,000 participants worldwide. The process is quite simple; observers are assigned to a “count circle” 15 miles in diameter along with other participants from their area. Over a period of 24 hours the group will follow an assigned route and count as many birds as they see, noting species.
Female cardinal in winter.
Although this “bird census” isn’t completely accurate, it does provide valuable information about migration and the winter ranges of various types of birds, not to mention some fantastic nature-watching opportunities. Participation is open to all. To find out when a Christmas Bird Count is happening in your area, visit the National Audubon Society.

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