The National Audubon Society and Audubon Nebraska invite birdwatchers to participate in the nation's longest-running community science survey, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Sunday, December 16, birders and nature enthusiasts in Lincoln will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate. And between Dec. 14 and the end of the year, at least 12 counts will be going on all across Nebraska, from Scottsbluff to Omaha. With 2018, the Year of the Bird is coming to a close, which makes it is a great time to get involved and help Audubon Nebraska continue to learn about our state’s feathered friends and how they are coping with a changing climate, the effects of habitat loss, and more. Not to mention that the CBC is a great way to get youth involved in community science in our state and spark the interest of our next generations of conservation leaders.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. (For a full list, of count circles and contacts, go to www.christmasbirdcount.org.)
“The Christmas Bird Count is a tradition that everyone can participate in,” said Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Director. “Adding observations to more than a century of data helps scientists and conservationists discover trends that make our work more impactful. Participating in the Christmas Bird Count is a fun tradition for anyone and everyone.”
To date over 300 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. Bird-related community 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 community science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least ten volunteers, including a compiler to coordinate the process, count in each circle. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders instead of following routes. To sign up for a count, please visit/contact Jason “the Birdnerd” St. Sauver, the Director of Education & Outreach for Audubon Nebraska, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a community science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. For more information and to find a count near you visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.