While most of us prepare to get into the Christmas spirit by following the same routine – shopping, shopping, and even more shopping, the National Audubon Society prepares for its annual Christmas Bird Count.
The event, which dates back to the early 1900s, is set to start on the 17th of December. According to the National Audubon Society, the annual Christmas Bird Count is not only a great way to unwind, but it’s also a great opportunity for scientists to gather data on native bird species.
The event’s organizers believe that this year’s Christmas bird count will be the largest one ever organized. Approximately 72,000 volunteers from 2,500 locations have already enrolled in the annual bird count.
As for last year’s event, the organizers declared that it was more that productive. The amateur and professional bird watchers managed to spot over 45 species of birds, including two new ones – the snow owl and the white-throated sparrow.
Up until know, the combined effort of thousands of volunteers participating in the annual Christmas bird count helped the scientists gather data on a large scale, a thing impossible to achieve only by the scientific community.
Over 200 new scientific article were written so far using the data gathered by bird watcher, including a promising one which analyzes the impact of climate shifts on birds. According to this new study, over 300 species of bird are threatened by global warming.
The event is open to everybody, meaning that there is no admission fee. After the annual Christmas bird count begins, volunteers are arranged in circles and must spot off birds along a pre-defined route. According to the National Audubon Society, the bird watching routes have remained the same for over a century.
However, thanks to modern technologies, spotting and cataloging birds is easier. The mobile application offers tons of useful info about various bird species encountered along the way, so it doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve paid attention in those biology classes.
As we’ve mentioned before, the tradition dates to the early 1900s. Doctor Frank Chapman, a prominent figure in ornithology, and the founder of a society called Bird-Lore initiated the annual Christmas bird count as a response to the spot-and-shoot tradition.
Since then, the annual bird count became as iconic as the turkey served on Thanksgiving Day.
Image source: Flickr
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