Christmas Bird Count


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Christmas Bird Count

December 14-January 6
The Christmas Bird Count, also known as CBC, is an international event sponsored annually by the National Audubon Society. Under a system that the society calls "citizen science," volunteers join a count that takes place on one day during the designated CBC period, December 14–January 5. Each group of volunteers, known as a Christmas Bird Count Circle, is assigned a specific geographic area and asked to record the number and species of birds they see. Each circle has a compiler, who organizes the volunteers and records the data that they gather according to a specific methodology. Counts take place in all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands. The data gathered every year helps the Audubon Society and scientists worldwide to understand the status and distribution of bird populations in early winter.
The Christmas Bird Count began at the turn of the last century. At that time, people often competed during the holiday season to see who could shoot the most birds and game. Ornithologist Frank Chapman, an officer in the just-developing Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition—a "Christmas Bird Census" that would encourage people to count birds rather than kill them. At the first count, birders in 25 North American locations spotted about 18,500 individual birds. During the 2006 count, nearly 58,000 volunteers tallied almost 70 million birds. Over the decades, generations of volunteers have supplied vital information for the longest-running database in ornithology.
CONTACTS:
National Audubon Society
700 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212-979-3000; fax: 212-979-3188
www.audubon.org
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