Become a Citizen Scientist

Once Thanksgiving is over, everyone starts thinking about the year-end holidays.  If you are a birder, this usually means not just thinking about purchasing gifts or planning travel to see family, but also about the local Christmas Bird Count (CBC; December 14, 2018 through January 5, 2019).  If you have never participated in a CBC before, now is the time to find out what and when counts are going to take place in your area and to contact the count leader/compiler to find out how to join this effort (click on the CBC circles map at  Organized by the National Audubon Society, this annual count was started in 1900 as an alternative to the holiday tradition of shooting birds, and has become a critical source of information on the long-term status of birds across North America.  For the newcomer, the CBC is a great way to learn how to look for birds, what habitats they use, and how to identify and count them…or you can just do a feeder count.  For the regular, it’s a chance to see and record something rare or unusual—you never know what might show up!  For parents and grandparents, it’s a great way to get kids into the outdoors; if they can’t bear to be separated from their personal devices, simply download a bird app on your iPhone and use that to help teach them how to identify birds and record sightings.  For everyone who participates, it’s an invigorating way to spend a winter’s day, in the field, observing and recording nature, and being part of something big and important!

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