Bird count is this weekend

Tue, 12/11/2007 - 5:50pm
By: The Citizen

One might call the annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, a kind of bellwether for the environment of the western hemisphere.

Volunteers brave the cold and rain in North America, heat and insects in South America, to count birds in known circles – a total of more than 2,000 this year during the time frame of Dec. 14, 2007 to Jan. 5, 2008.

In numbers like this, growing from 27 counters in 1900 to 57,156 in 2005, it is possible to extrapolate changing conditions in increments so gradual they might not otherwise be noticed – like canaries in a mine shaft.

The 108th CBC is expected to be larger than ever, expanding its geographical coverage and accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds. The CBC is vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere, and the data, which are 100% volunteer generated, have become a crucial part of the U.S. Government's natural history monitoring database.

For more information about CBC participation, visit Audubon's website at and click on the “Get Involved” link on the left-hand side of the page.

CBC compilers enter their count data via Audubon's website through Bird Studies Canada's homepage at, where the count results will be viewable in near real-time. Explore this information for the winter of 2007-2008 or visit a count from the past. Has the state of local birds changed during the last 25...50...or 100 years?

Experienced birders are welcome to participate in this year’s count, on Dec. 15, says Brock Hutchins, coordinator of the Peachtree City census, but cautions that it is not for inexperienced birders.

“We especially need to hear from people who will allow their property to be crossed or used for counting,” he continues. The circle is 15 miles in diameter and centers roughly on Sharpsburg or Turin, in Coweta County.

At the end of the day, birders gather to tally their finds and see the data being readied to post directly to the Audubon website. There is no cost to participate in the count, but a donation is required to have your name entered with the local survey.

Hutchins may be reached at 770-486-3715 and at

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