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Audubon Christmas Bird count began Dec. 14

December 22, 2018

Audubon’s 119th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be conducted this coming CBC season. All counts began Friday, Dec. 14 and will continue through Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019.

Each Christmas season, tens of thousands of volunteers will count and record each individual bird and bird species they encounter during one calendar day, within a 15-mile diameter circle. This year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will mobilize over 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The censuses provide valuable data about the number of bird species and numbers of each species occurring within set geographic areas on an early winter day. The results are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone.

To date, over 300 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. Bird-related citizen science efforts are also critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. This documentation is what enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study.

The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades.

Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this fun, nationwide citizen science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. The volunteers break up into small parties and will follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. If you are a beginning birder, on most counts you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. Feeder watchers and backyard watchers are needed too.

Participants should bring lunch, drinking water, warm clothing and footwear. Binoculars, field guides and spotting scopes are suggested, for those who have them. The five-dollar fee has been dropped to encourage more participation and the annual published report, (American Birds) previously available in paper has been made digital.

In western Nebraska, the bird counts will be in:

Scottsbluff Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 28, Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net.

Lake McConaughy, Christmas Bird Count, Dec 29, Stephen Dinsmore, cootjr@iastate.edu, 515-294-1348.

Harrison, Christmas Bird Count, To Be Determined, Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net, Bruce Walgren, piranga@bresnan.net, 307-234-7455.

Crawford Christmas Bird Count, TBD, Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net, Bruce Walgren, piranga@bresnan.net, 307-234-7455.

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