2010 Christmas Bird Count
December 14 marks the beginning of Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count. The Count runs through January 5, 2011.
The first Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place on December 25, 1900 – 27 participants counted and identified about 18,500 birds, mostly in the northeastern U.S. Today, CBC volunteers brave snow and chilly temperatures to identify and count birds throughout the 50 states and in Canada. Last year, over 2100 counts were completed and 59.9 million birds were reported! CBC data helps researchers understand how bird populations have changed over the past century. Forty years’ worth of observation data from the CBC show that 58 percent of North American bird species seen in the first few weeks of winter have shifted their ranges north. Sixty species have moved over 100 miles north – the wild turkey has moved a whopping 400 miles!
Viewer Tip: Anyone can participate in the Christmas Bird Count. CBC takes place in “count circles” that focus on specific geographic areas. Every circle has a leader, so even if you are a beginner birdwatcher, you’ll be able to count birds with an experienced birder and contribute data to the longest-running wildlife census. If your home happens to be within the boundaries of a count circle, you can count the birds that visit your backyard feeder.
To join a Christmas Bird Count in your area, visit birds.audubon.org/get-involved-christmas-bird-count and click on “Count Date Search” to find a count circle near you. Detailed instructions for joining a count can be found at birds.audubon.org/documents/cbc-circle-sign-instructions-participants.
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(Sources: National Audubon Society. “The 110th Christmas Bird Count: Citizen Science in Action. www.christmasbirdcount.org; National Audubon Society. “Birds and Climate Change: Ecological Disruption in Motion – A Briefing for Policymakers and Concerned Citizens on Audubon’s Analyses of North American Bird Movements in the Face of Global Warming.” February 2009. http://birds.audubon.org/birds-climate-change-move)