The 111th Christmas Bird Count: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 to Wednesday, January 5, 2011

 From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission – often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.

Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.

From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition — and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

With thousands of birders joining forces all over the continent, the single biggest nature event of the year is upon us: the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The tradition started in 1900 when ornithologist Frank Chapman proposed an alternative to the recreational hunting of birds that usually occurred on Christmas Day. He enlisted the help of twenty-seven conservationists in twenty-five different areas. Rather than kill birds, the group simply counted them.

It’s a novel way for birders to spend their time. Most pursue the hobby individually or with a handful of friends.

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