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The 112th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count

The 112th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Throughout the Americas, the Annual Bird Count kicks off the holiday season on many federal lands.

Grand Teton Owl This owl in Grand Teton National Park may be lucky enough to be spotted and counted this Christmas.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count has been a holiday time tradition for 112 years. From Alaska to Alabama and all the land in between, to Central and South America, Hawaii and Bermuda, over the period of December 14 through January 5, passionate bird and nature lovers embark on the recurring adventure with their hiking gear, bird guides, checklists, binoculars and a little friendly competition.

Aside from enjoying nature and getting out into the fresh air, volunteers—feeder-watchers, field observers, count compilers and regional editors—provide a lot of critical data and significant contribution to conservation and the overall assessment of the health of bird populations. Ironically, the event spawned from an old traditional hunt and those with the biggest pile of feathers at the end won. Now, over 100 years later, we have web applications to help us identify and track birds for their preservation.

Local counts are easy to find and, if certain areas have more than one count, you can participate in all of them. Count Circles, or groups, follow specific routes through a designated 15-mile diameter circle and can record every bird they see or hear.  In many areas and National Parks, the bird count signifies the beginning of winter and volunteers look forward to it right along with Santa and the New Year’s countdown.