BEDFORD, N.Y. – The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, and this season kicks off Dec. 14.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900, when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird Lore, the predecessor of Audubon magazine, suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt” – where teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds.
Now tens of thousands of volunteers across the United States and Canada brave winter weather to add a new layer that has shaped conservation and Congressional decisions for more than a century. The data from each 15-mile count circle is compiled by National Audubon to detect population trends and other changes in the environment.
Data from more than a century of Christmas Bird Counts was an integral part of National Audubon’s recent climate change study. The study revealed the drastic impact climate change will have on local birds, whose ranges will shrink or shift with a changing climate.
Bedford Audubon’s staff, board, and members participate in Christmas Bird Counts across the region. Bedford Audubon’s Naturalist in Residence, Tait Johansson, will be participating in six counts in his home state of Vermont, plus New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York this year.
“The Christmas Bird Count is a free and fun opportunity for new and experienced birders alike. Every count circle is led by experienced birders who more than happy to share their expertise with others. It is a great group experience, and everyone learns something new each year,” said Walter Fowler, Bedford Audubon’s vice-president and longtime Christmas Bird Count participant. There are four local counts that encompass Bedford Audubon’s service area. Dates and contact information to join are:
- Sunday, Dec. 14: Greenwich-Stamford CBC, contact Gary Palmer at email@example.com .
- Saturday, Dec. 20: Peekskill/Northern Westchester CBC, contact Mike Newhouse firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Thursday, Jan. 1: Pawling/Hidden Valley CBC, contact Carena Pooth email@example.com
- Saturday, Jan. 3: Putnam CBC, contact Charlie Roberto at (914) 271-0840.
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