Volunteer bird enthusiasts all over the country are gearing up for the annual Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society. The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor will coordinate two local bird counts, the Ephraim and Northern Door Counts, which are scheduled for Dec. 17. This unique program 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.
There is no need to be an expert birder to participate. Many Christmas Birders tally species at their bird feeder, from the warm comfort of their homes. Others will travel afield, searching Door County’s shorelines, roadsides and forests. Past Christmas Bird Counts in northern Door County have revealed both common and unusual birds, everything from frolicking Black-capped Chickadees to Snowy Owls.
The Christmas Bird Count was started in 1900 as a way to collect data on numbers and species of birds all across the United States. Each winter, birders record the species and numbers of birds they see during a given time period, and the data is analyzed to determine population trends, migration patterns, and the spread of exotic species such as the House Sparrow. For example, Christmas Bird Count records has been used to document the steady northward spread of the Cardinal over the past 40 years, and the cyclical southern invasions of species like the Evening Grosbeak.
New counters are always welcome! For more information on the Christmas Bird Count, contact The Ridges Sanctuary at 920.829.2802 or email [email protected].