14, 2015 and January 5, 2016, scores of volunteer birders and nature enthusiasts
will take part in the longest running wildlife census on the planet. The annual
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is organized by the National Audubon Society and the
data compiled are used to track the health of bird populations at a scale that
professional scientists could never accomplish alone. CBCs are not just about
counting birds. The data collected are at the heart of hundreds of peer-reviewed
scientific studies and contribute to decisions made by the US Fish and Wildlife
Service, Department of the Interior and
While the ultimate goal of participating in a count is to
tally a representative sample of the birds, the natural competitive spirit of
birders is what drives them to do the most thorough job possible. CBCs have
become a treasured holiday tradition, a reunion with birding friends and a way
to play a small part in a big conservation picture. The growing combined pool of
contributed sightings helps researchers understand how birds are faring in a way
that ornithologist, Frank Chapman, could never have conceived of back in 1900
when he organized a small band of twenty-seven dedicated birders to
conduct the first-ever CBC!
This event is free and is open to birders of all skill levels. If you are a
beginner, you will be able to join a team that includes experienced birders. If
you are unable to join a field team and you live within the boundaries of a
count circle, you can make arrangements
with the coordinator to stay home and report the birds that visit your feeders.
Information on over thirty counts held in Utah can be
found at www.utahbirds.org.
Visit the NAS website,
www.audubon.org, for a wealth of information on CBCs.