Counting birds for Christmas

By SANDY LONG
Posted 12/11/19

For 119 years, the National Audubon Society has led an important initiative known as the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)—an early winter bird census that has resulted in the establishment of a …

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Counting birds for Christmas

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For 119 years, the National Audubon Society has led an important initiative known as the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)—an early winter bird census that has resulted in the establishment of a historic database providing information on how the birds of the Americas are faring over time. Such data has contributed to Audubon’s concern that “two-thirds of North America’s birds are at risk of extinction due to climate change.”

Supported by thousands of citizen scientists who follow a specific methodology, the effort takes place during the Christmas season. The 120th CBC launches on Saturday, December 14 and continues through Sunday, January 5, 2020.

Each count occurs in a pre-determined 15-mile-wide diameter circle organized by a count compiler and occurring over a 24-hour period on one calendar day. Following specified routes, volunteers count every bird seen or heard. Each group includes at least one experienced birdwatcher to help identify specific species.

If you’d like to participate in the upcoming CBC, following are two local opportunities to do so:

  • White Mills, PA – 12/14/19 – Conducted in mixed habitat including large lakes, farm fields, flowing creeks and two dams in the Honesdale area of Northeast Pennsylvania. Email compiler Barbara Leo at barbaraaleo@earthlink.net for more information.
  • Dingmans Ferry, PA – 12/29/19 – The Pocono Environmental Education Center covers a count circle that encompasses most of the Delaware Water Gap National Area and diverse bird habitat. Call 570/828-2319 or email Derek Scott at DScott@peec.org for more information.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) co-organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, which occurs on President’s Day weekend in February. Visit www.audubon.org/conservation/about-great-backyard-bird-count for details.

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