Starting on December 14th, nature enthusiasts will be able to participate in the National Audobon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. This year will mark the 117 season of the event since it was first started.
The event is more organized than just having anyone out on a stroll throughout the country to count the number of birds they spot. More specifically, the Christmas Bird Count includes day-long outings across the country. The volunteers, professional bird watchers, and conservation experts will cover 15-mile wide circles.
The participants will be split into groups of different sized with one person in every group which will be the official compiler of all the birds seen or even heard by the group throughout the day. If you’re interested in participating in this year’s Christmas Bird Count, you should know that the event’s organizers do not require that volunteers have any previous birdwatching experience. They can participate in any number of counts throughout the entire period the event takes place.
The Christmas Bird Count is now an established annual tradition in the US for environmental and conservation groups as well as nature enthusiasts. The event first began in 1900 as an environmentally friendly and social alternative to the large-scale hunting events which were prevalent throughout the country. At that time, conservationists feared that those events would lead to very low populations of birds in the US, and decided to raise awareness through a new, more peaceful and safe event.
The annual Christmas count was first started by ornithologist Frank Chapman. He hoped to bring communities together in the interest in preserving nature and for science purposes while reducing the number of participants from bird hunts. Now, the event also serves to provide important data to ornithological researchers in the US.
Over the years, the Christmas bird count has developed into a massive event which provides some of the most extensive and geographically diverse data sets for research in American ornithology. The information collected by the volunteers helps researchers determine the decline and increases of particular species of birds, the population of birds in certain areas, their geographical shifts in winter ranges, as well as a variety of other indicators for the state of birds in the US.
Image source: Wikimedia