The National Audubon Society is organizing its 2016-2017 annual Christmas Bird Count. Between December 14th and January 5th, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate in counts across the Western Hemisphere.
The data collected by participants continues to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.
The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running wildlife census in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for organizing volunteers and submitting observations to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day.
Christmas Bird Count data have been used in more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, including Audubon’s landmark Birds and Climate Change Report, which found that more than half of the bird species in North America are threatened by a changing climate.
When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well.
Last year, the 116th Christmas Bird Count included a record-setting 2,505 count circles, with 1,902 counts in the United States, 471 in Canada and 132 in Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. In total, 76,669 observers out in the field tallied up 58,878,071 birds representing 2,607 different species; about one-quarter of the world’s known avifauna. Approximately 5 percent of the North American landmass was surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a citizen science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more.
For more information, visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.
source: National Audubon Society