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 https://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count).  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!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *