Volunteers Needed for Christmas Bird Count

November 1, 2017 6:38 pm0 commentsViews: 15
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The Bird Count began in 1900, with volunteers who

wanted to look at birds rather than shoot them…

 

Between December 14th, 2017 and January 5th, 2018, volunteers across the country will brave various weather conditions to count birds during the 118th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Saturday, December 16th, birders and nature enthusiasts in Bucks County will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate in the longest running wildlife census on the planet.

Each year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 70,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. CBC utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations on a scale that professional scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled in Bucks County will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.

The count in the southern portion of Bucks County started in 1947. The area, centered on the Langhorne Post Office, includes territory south of Washington Crossing, Richboro, and Trevose. To be accurate and avoid duplication, teams of volunteers canvas specific areas within the circle and report their findings.

With 69 years of collected records, the data is now rich enough to see very local trends in bird populations. Gathering this wealth of data would not be possible without volunteer involvement. People of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to get involved.

“This is not just about counting birds,” said Gary Langham, Audubon’s chief scientist. “Data from the Audubon Christmas Bird Count are at the heart of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies and inform decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of the Interior, and the EPA. Because birds are early indicators of environmental threats to habitats we share, this is a vital survey of North America and, increasingly, the Western Hemisphere.”

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore (which evolved into Audubon magazine) suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. While the ultimate goal of participating in a count is to tally a representative sample of the birds on a count day, the natural competitive spirit of birders is what drives them to do the most thorough job possible.

CBC has become a treasured holiday tradition, a reunion with birding friends and a way to play a small part in a big conservation picture. The growing pool of sightings helps researchers understand how birds are faring in a way that Dr. Chapman could never have conceived back in 1900. ■

 

Take part in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 16th from 6:30 AM-5:30 PM at Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol, PA. Even if you have never had a chance to go birding before, it is a great experience to learn while being actively involved in important citizen science national bird census (and we have binoculars for you to borrow if needed, just let us know). You do not need to commit to the entire day or have any birding experience! You can meet us at Neshaminy State Park at 6:30am, or you can meet us later at Silver Lake Nature Center (1306 Bath Road in Bristol) at 10 am or later at 1pm and join for part of the day to be a part of this very special event!

Join us on the 118th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Call the Center at 215 785-1177 or email silverlakenaturecenter@buckscounty.org to register.

 

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