Happy Holidays Citizen Scientists!

cedar_waxwing_georgi_baird_cropped_1

Everyone knows that birders, or nerders as I like to call them, are a dedicated bunch, willing to spend hours in one spot waiting for a sighting of an elusive species.  For those of us with self-diagnosed ADD, that seems like a true test of fortitude!  Birders play in an important role in the scientific community and each year act as citizen scientists, collecting invaluable data that helps to further research and fuel conservation efforts.  These efforts are mobilized each year during the Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

CBC Santa

The 113th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count will take place Dec 14, 2012 to January 5, 2013.  The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends.  Data from the over 2,000 circles are entered after the count and become available to query here.

112th chirstmas bird count

The first year,in 1900, 27 birders participated, counting in 25 North American locations.  Last year, more than 63,000 volunteers in more than 2,200 locations took part.  Counts were held in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.

1936 chirstmas count

The original counters tallied about 90 species. Last year volunteers recorded nearly 2,300 species among more than 60 million birds.

Audubon’s chief scientist Gary Langham points out that the counts’ purpose goes beyond tallying birds.

“Data from the Audubon Christmas Bird Count are at the heart of hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies and inform decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Interior and the EPA,” he said.

christmas_bird_count

From all accounts it’s also a lot of fun!  Find a circle near you…

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