Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December is for the Birds

From guest author, Mary Warren, Naturalist at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and the Sportsman's Migratory Bird Center, Oak Harbor, Ohio 

While you are out dashing around looking for the perfect gift, many folks will be outside counting birds. The National Audubon Society will sponsor the 112th Christmas Bird Count from December 14th to January 5th this year. While it’s not a
 BIG YEAR (did you get to see the movie The Big Year? Very funny!), it will be a big event.

On any day during that period, people will be out with binoculars and field guides in hand counting every bird, recording how many and what species, and where they are seeing them. Thousands of volunteers across the Americas will take part in this adventure that has been a tradition for years. You don’t have to be an expert to participate in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC). All eyes and ears are welcome. The data that is collected during these weeks is used to guide conservation actions for bird populations. This tradition began in 1900, making the CBC one of America's longest running wildlife census projects. And you can be a very important part of this fun citizen science project.

Most CBC’s are run through local Audubon chapters. You can go online to find a chapter near you. There are also informal CBC4Kids events sprouting up around the country. First introduced in 2007 in Sonoma Valley, California, this event is specifically for kids and families and encourages enjoyment and respect for nature together. For more info you can check it out at http://www.sonomabirding.com/

If you are in Northwest Ohio, there will be a CBC4Kids at Magee Marsh on January 14th, 2012. There will be lots of fun activities planned that day. For more info, you can email mary.warren@dnr.state.oh.us
From g2goutside.com

We hope that you will consider starting a new tradition this year by getting OUTSIDE to count the birds in your area and to take time to enjoy the beauty of our natural world!