Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Bird Count Starts December 14th

I've often written about the fun and important function of Citizen Science Programs. What I call Citizen Science programs are any programs that encourage people to go out and monitor various forms of wildlife and report their statistics so that scientists can study the habits and habitats of local wildlife. 

There are wildlife monitoring programs for birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, frogs and other forms of wildlife. These programs are open to anyone with an interest in wildlife. In most cases, the only skill required is the ability to count! They are a great opportunity to get outside with your family and explore the creatures that live around us.

The best known of these counts are the various bird counts conducted, in part, by the National Audubon Society.   Starting on Wednesday, December 14th, you can participate in one of the more popular of these counts: The Christmas Bird Count.

The National Audubon Society website describes the Christmas bird count in this way:
 From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission - often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.
Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations - and to help guide conservation action.
If you would like to get more information about a bird count in your area, use this search tool to find the count nearest you.

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