Join in with the annual bird count next week

By Contributor
December 5th, 2011

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Grand Forks will join birders across the western hemisphere to participate in North America’s longest-running wintertime birding tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC).

This year, over 2,200 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond from Dec. 14, 2011 to Jan. 5, 2012.For Grand Forks the count will take place on Dec. 17.

“Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Dick Cannings, the Bird Studies Canada christmas bird count coordinator. “Bird Studies Canada and our partners at Audubon rely on data from the CBC database to inform a myriad of analyses regarding both bird conservation and climate change.”

During last year’s count, about 61 million birds were tallied in 2215 locations by over 62,000 volunteers, the number of both locations and observers a record level of participation. In Canada, almost 12,000 participants in 394 counts found 3.3 million birds.

The CBC began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history. On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals. Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort – and a more than century-old institution.

Since Chapman’s retirement in 1934, new generations of observers have performed the modern-day count. Today, over 60,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific Islands, count and record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area.

The 112th CBC is expected to be larger than ever, expanding its geographical coverage and accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds. The CBC is vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere, and the data, which are 100% volunteer generated, have become a crucial part of Canada’s biodiversity monitoring database.

For more information about CBC participation, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website at http://www.bsc-eoc.org/volunteer/cbc and click on the “Find a Count Near You,” link on the right-hand side of the page. If you would like to participate in the Grand Forks CBC please contact the Granby wilderness Society at info@granbywilderness.ca or call Jenny 442-7969 or Eva 442-5334. Visit www.granbywilderness.ca for more information about our local count.

CBC compilers enter their count data via Audubon’s website at www.christmasbirdcount.org where the 112th Count results will be viewable in near real-time. Explore this information for the winter of 2011-2012 or visit a count from the past. See if and how the state of your local birds has changed during the last 25…50…or 100 years.

Bird Studies Canada is recognized nation-wide as a leading and respected,
not-for-profit, conservation organization dedicated to the study and
understanding of wild birds and their habitats. Each year, more than 20,000
volunteers actively participate in BSC research and education activities. 

Categories: General