The Count Is On

Anna’s Hummingbird. Photo: Matthew Olson/Audubon Photography Awards

This time of the year we always save some time for the census, and not surprisingly 2020 necessitates some adaptation to methodology:

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Will Look Very Different This Year

While some local counts may be cancelled due to regional COVID-19 rules, many community scientists across the hemisphere will carry on one of the longest-running wildlife censuses in a socially distanced fashion.

NEW YORK — For the 121st year, the National Audubon Society is organizing the annual Audubon CBC. Between December 14 and January 5, tens of thousands of bird-loving volunteers will participate in counts across the Western Hemisphere all while abiding by Audubon’s COVID-19 guidelines. The twelve decades’ worth of data collected by participants continue to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.

The Audubon CBC is one of the longest-running wildlife censuses in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for safely organizing volunteers and submitting observations directly to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population. Wearing masks and social distancing are mandatory requirements for participants.

“We know this year is going to be a very different Audubon CBC than in years past, but it is still a great tradition and opportunity for everyone to be a part of more than 120 years of ongoing community science,” said Geoff LeBaron, Audubon CBC director, who first started leading the community science effort in 1987. “Adding your observations to twelve decades of data helps scientists and conservationists discover trends that make our work more impactful. Participating in the Audubon CBC is a fun and meaningful way to spend a winter for anyone and everyone.”…

Read the whole article here.

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