ROCKINGHAM — The National Audubon Society is inviting Richmond County birdwatchers to participate in the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Beginning Sunday, hundreds of birders and nature enthusiasts across North Carolina will take part in this long-standing tradition where data collected has helped to shape influential conservation efforts nationwide.
As North Carolina’s landscape continues to evolve with changes… the data collected during the annual Christmas Bird Count is crucial to understanding the health of native and migrating bird populations throughout North Carolina. During the 2013 CBC, five snowy owls were spotted from Asheville to Wilmington, and local citizen scientists were on hand to detail the rare event.
North Carolina’s birding circles are some of the top performing in the country, and last year, a record 51 counts across the state reported 1,113,012 individual birds from 225 species.
“In a state where inspiring conservation action is vital to the health of birds facing the damaging effects of climate change, Audubon North Carolina is excited to be a leader in statewide conservation efforts,” Executive Director Heather Hahn said in a release. “As climate change continues to affect populations of the brown-headed nuthatch, American oystercatcher, wood thrush and many more iconic species, the data collected during this annual event becomes even more important to ongoing efforts to protect our birds.”
Each year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes more than 70,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that professional scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled across North Carolina will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.
Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this fun winter tradition and nationwide citizen science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of native bird populations during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles.
At least 10 volunteers, including a compiler to coordinate the process, count in each circle. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders instead of following routes.