If Santa had time during his busy holiday schedule, there is no doubt he would join the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, an annual event that dates back to the year 1900! That’s right: a citizen science event 110 years in the making!
From December 14 to January 5 each season, volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day.
Why has the Christmas Bird Count been such a huge success over the years?
First, you don’t need to be an expert to participate. Families, students, and birders at all levels are paired together with seasoned Christmas Bird Count veterans. You’ll be supplied with binoculars, bird guides and checklists — all you need to participate in a successful count.
Second, the counts take place all over the world. To get involved in a count near you, visit the Christmas Bird Count Get Involved web page.
Finally, the data collected through the Christmas Bird Count has been extremely useful to researchers, conservation biologists, and others interested in studying the long-term health and status of bird populations. In the 1980’s, for instance, data was used to document the decline of wintering populations of the American Black Duck. As a result, conservation measures were put into effect to reduce hunting pressure on this species.
Visit the Christmas Bird Count website to learn more about how you can participate in the longest-running wildlife census this holiday season.
HO HO HO!