The Ridges Sanctuary citizen scientists are gearing up for the annual Christmas Bird Count, the nation’s longest-running community science bird project. The Count records bird encounters within a 15-mile diameter during one calendar day.
The Ephraim Circle bird count, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16, and sponsored by the National Audubon Society, is open to anyone who wishes to view and count birds seen on that day, either in the field or at their home bird feeders.
The Christmas Bird Count began as a way of promoting conservation by collecting data on numbers and species of birds across the United States. Now in its 124th year, tens of thousands of volunteer birders will endure snow, wind, or rain to take part in the effort. The data from species recorded and numbers of birds seen during a given time period and the data is analyzed to assess the health of bird populations, to help guide conservation action, and to identify environmental issues with implications for people.
For example, conservationists have learned through Christmas Count data that more than half of the 588 North American bird species that Audubon studies are likely to be in trouble. Models indicate that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.
There is no need to be an expert birder or brave the elements to participate. Many Christmas birders tally species at their bird feeder, from the warm comfort of their homes. Others will travel afield, searching inside the 15-mile diameter of shorelines, roadsides and forests of the Ephraim Circle, centered approximately at the intersection of County Road A and Peninsula Players Road.
To learn more and to get involved in the Christmas Bird Count, contact Tony Kiszonas, Ridges Director of Research, at 920.839.2802 or by email at [email protected].