Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count is a hundred year old tradition taking place every year between December 14 and January 5 in over 2,000 locations across North and Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite bad weather, it has become tradition for families to grab their binoculars and go with their friends to experience the beauty of their surroundings during the holiday season.

brown pelican seen on Christmas bird countThe tradition started on Christmas Day in 1900 when a small group of people suggested bird watching and counting as an alternative to hunting, reports Cottage Country Now. The Count has attracted more and more participants every year, and today is most often organized at the local level by a birding club or naturalists organization. In Canada, the Christmas Bird Count was previously organized by the Audubon Society, but since 2000 Bird Studies Canada has partnered with them to coordinate counts.

cardinal birdMost importantly, the Christmas Bird Count is a conservation effort. Scientists use the data to better evaluate the health of the birds and the environment, and of course what can be done to help. With each year of new data volunteers are helping to set the direction for conservation efforts. Volunteers follow a specified route on a preset 24 km diameter circle or they can arrange to count birds around home feeders. Volunteers can also work as count compilers and regional editors.

If you are would like to take part in the Christmas Bird Count anywhere in Canada or the United States, visit the Audubon Society’s website and click on “Get Involved in the Christmas Bird Count”.

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Alison Wheatley

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