San Juan Islands Christmas Bird Count

Note: it’s a little earlier this year… Saturday, December 14, 2019

From Christmas Bird Hunts to Christmas Bird Counts –119 Years of Counting

In 1900 ornithologist Frank Chapman along with other conservationists were disturbed at the slaughter of birds in the annual holiday event called the “side hunt”. The team that shot the most birds and other small animals was the winner. As a protest, Chapman organized 27 friends in 25 locations on Christmas Day, 1900 to count live animals instead of shooting them.

This became an annual event called the Audubon Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the National Audubon Society. The CBC is now the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, providing critical data on population trends. An astounding 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere now participate and you can too.

Today’s Count – Each Audubon chapter chooses a 24-hour time period from the middle of December to early January for their count. The area covered is a 15-mile wide circle of about 177 square miles. San Juan Islands Audubon created its circle in 1987 and is centered at the University of Washington Labs in Friday Harbor. It includes parts of San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw. Teams divide the area into units to survey by car, foot and boat. Some people monitor their own backyard, neighborhood or bird feeder. 

Bird populations are indicators of the overall health of our environment. As the long-database continues to grow it is possible to monitor the abundance and distribution patterns of wintering bird populations and is critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate.

This is a chance to connect with fellow birders, experience winter’s splendor, and introduce newcomers to the magical world of birding. All ages and experience levels are welcome. We always need more people to cover many areas.

Some birders take a little rest during the count

To track trends of your favorite birds and other info about the count go to:

Contact Barbara Jensen at 378-3068 or to participate.

Posted on October 28, 2019 at 5:49 am by

Categories: Animals, Recreation, Wildlife
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