It’s my first one and I don’t know what to wear! kidding, though it is my first one and I’m not sure how they go. Next month I will be participating in my first ever Christmas Bird Count. Does one get a participation award even though they didn’t spot anything but some silhouettes? I’m not the best birder but I think I can wing it (get it, hahaha)! But in all seriousness, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, this year marks the 115th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Every year for as long as your grandparents could probably remember, birders and bird enthusiasts alike have gathered in an attempt to count every last bird on earth.
In the year 1900 a traditional practice of Christmas critter hunting was turned on its head when Mr. Frank M. Chapman, an Audubon Society ornithologist, and some 20-odd birders decided to partake in a bird census instead. On that day, Frank and friends registered around 90 species during 25 counts that ranged from Toronto to Pacific Grove, CA. The Christmas Bird Count was born and now has become a premier event in birder culture. Today, the count is hosted at over 2,000 sites throughout the Western Hemisphere, with tens of thousands of participants. It is the longest running citizen science survey IN THE WORLD!
And while a lot of people do it for fun, the data gathered from such surveys is actually extremely useful for research. With the help of the Christmas Bird Count, there have been crucial discoveries in population trends, effects of climate change, and other environmental issues that lead to reports and legislative change. So it’s like having fun while saving the world, right? Who wouldn’t be into that!?
Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count, the Audubon Society, and how you can be a part of this great project: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count