The annual Christmas Bird Count is a beloved tradition for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Each year, volunteers gather all across North America to count and record the number of birds they see. This year, the event will take place from December 14th to January 5th. It’s a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the winter weather and contribute to a valuable scientific endeavor.
The Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running citizen science projects in the world. It began in 1900 when ornithologist Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition. Instead of hunting birds on Christmas Day, he suggested that people count them. The idea caught on, and the first Christmas Bird Count was held on December 25th, 1900. Today, the event is coordinated by the National Audubon Society, and it has expanded to cover the entire continent.
Why’s It Important?
The Christmas Bird Count is important for a few reasons. First, it helps scientists track the health of bird populations over time. By counting birds in the same areas year after year, researchers can see how populations are changing and which species are in decline. Second, the count provides valuable data for conservation efforts. Knowing where birds are and how many there are can help conservationists protect habitats and plan for future projects.
Join the Event!
If you’re interested in participating in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), there are a few things you should know.
1. Participate in Pre-Count Surveys:
Several regions conduct pre-count surveys to help identify and map bird populations leading up to the CBC. These surveys enable birdwatchers to practice their skills and contribute to important data collection efforts. You can check with local birding groups or websites for opportunities to participate in pre-count surveys, making your preparations for the CBC more comprehensive.
2.Find a Local Count Circle:
First, you’ll need to find a count circle near you. These circles are predetermined areas where volunteers count birds. You can find a count circle by visiting the Audubon website or by contacting your local Audubon chapter. Once you’ve found a circle, you’ll need to sign up in advance as it will give the organizers an idea of how many volunteers they can expect. On the day of the count, you need to arrive at the count circle before dawn. This is when the birds are most active, and it’s the best time to see and count as many as possible. You’ll spend the day walking around the circle, recording the birds you see and their numbers. You don’t need to be an expert birder to participate; all skill levels are welcome. However, it’s a good idea to brush up on your bird identification skills before the count.
3.Attend Workshops and Events:
Many local organizations, parks, and wildlife centers host workshops and events in preparation for the CBC. These gatherings provide opportunities to learn from experts, enrich your knowledge of local bird species, refine identification skills, and connect with like-minded individuals. Stay up-to-date with a bird-watching calendar or search online for relevant workshops in your area.
Using Bird Box Cameras for Christmas Bird Count
Looking for a unique way to participate in the Christmas Bird Count? Consider using a bird box camera! Bird box cameras allow you to observe birds in their natural habitat without disturbing them. By placing a camera inside a birdhouse or nest box, you can capture footage of birds as they build their nests, lay eggs and raise their young. This is not only a fun and educational way to participate in the CBC, but it also provides valuable data on bird behavior and breeding patterns.
There are many different types of bird box cameras available. If you’re not sure where to start, consider purchasing a bird box camera kit that includes everything you need to get started. These kits typically come with a bird box camera, nest box, mounting bracket, and instructions for setup and configuration. By using a bird box camera for the Christmas Bird Count, you can get a unique perspective on the birds in your area and contribute to the annual bird count with valuable information regarding nesting habits, populations and species representation. Plus, it’s a fun and rewarding way to connect with nature during the holiday season. So why not give the gift of bird box cameras this Christmas? Whether for yourself or a fellow bird enthusiast, it’s sure to be a gift that keeps on giving.
In conclusion, the Christmas Bird Count is a fun and meaningful way to spend a winter day. Whether you’re an experienced birder or a beginner, you can contribute to a valuable scientific endeavor and enjoy the beauty of nature. So mark your calendar for the 2023 Christmas Bird Count Week, find a count circle near you, and get ready to count some birds!