Friday, December 12, 2008

Participate in a Christmas Bird Counts

Spend a day with the birds this holiday season by joining in the 109th National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count program, an annual hemispheric early-winter bird census.

This winter’s count is Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 and ranges from the Pacific Islands to the Canadian provinces. During a count, each bird seen or heard during a calendar day (midnight to midnight) in a specific geographic area - a 15-mile diameter circle - is recorded.

The results give biologists a snapshot of the numbers and diversity of early-winter bird populations. The 2007 count proved instrumental in developing two Audubon reports. One revealed sharp population declines among some of America’s most familiar birds over the past 40 years, according to Audubon.

The Georgia Ornithological Society Web site lists more than 20 counts across Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah and from Bainbridge to Blue Ridge. Most are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to participate.

The Audubon Society compiles the data and publishes the annual Christmas Bird Count reports.

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