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Thursday, December 13, 2007

108th Christmas Bird Count, Dec.14th to Jan. 5th.

From Ravens in Alaska,

to Roseate Spoonbills in south Florida,

and those in between,

all the birds are counted.

Bald Eagle we saw last year on our CBC.

Yep, that's right, this is the 108th Christmas Bird Count. That means for the last 108 years birders across the country have been going out around Christmas, to census America's birds. There are designated CBC (Christmas Bird Count) 15 mile diameter circles all across the country. Volunteers spend the day counting the birds they find in those circles. From Ravens in Alaska, to Roseate Spoonbills in Florida and everything in between, all birds are counted. To participate by joining a search party or staying (warm) at home and counting birds at your feeders, click here.

The census data, while obviously affected by how many people participate from year to year, and whether new count circles are added, etc., is still very valuable. It gives a sense of the status and distribution of early winter bird populations across the whole country.

We have participating in the CBC, wherever we have lived, for just about as long as we have been birding. One of the things we like best is that on that special day, every bird counts, no matter what species it is. All birds are censused, so each is sought after. Just staying out all day and seeing what birds are around and what they are doing is special, something most people rarely do. We so enjoy the camraderie of the people we join with in our search party, as we go about our group effort to find every bird we can.

Every year is different. This year should be exciting because there are so many irruptive species that have come down into the U.S. How many Common Redpolls, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Northen Shrikes and other irruptives will be found? Will this be one of the biggest years on record for these irruptives?

Our own southern NH Christmas Bird Count is on Sat. the 15th., (different count circles are censused on different dates.) It is supposed to be very cold but clear in the am, snow in the pm. We are keeping our feeders well stocked to hopefully lure in those 75 Common Redpolls we saw recently. We'll keep you updated on how it goes. To see photos from our last years count, click here.

Christmas Bird Count tips:
1. Keep your feeders full, watch in early am and mid-afternoon, times when birds feed heavily at feeders.
2. Count the maximum number of a species you have in view at one time, in one place, to avoid duplicate counting.
3. Chickadees in a flock fly across an open space one at a time. So wait for a chickadee flock you are watching to cross an open space, it will give you a more accurate count.
4. Watch carefully for other birds who hang out with chickadees in a "mixed flock". You may see a Brown Creeper, or kinglets.
5. Dress warmly if you are outside!!! It's no fun to count if you're cold.
6. Bring, or stop for snacks, (granola bars, coffee, hot cocoa) to keep you energized.
7. Have fun!
8. Tell us about your own CBC if you participate in one.

1 comment:

Lana Gramlich said...

Awesome photos & info!