Volunteers wanted for Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 100 years of citizen science involvement. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere, go out over a 24 hour period to count birds.

The first CBC was done on Christmas Day of 1900 as an alternative activity to an event called the “side hunt” where people chose sides, then went out and shot as many birds as they could. This will be the 112th annual count.
Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBC’s are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day.
The Hackensack/Ridgewood count circle covers Bergen County’s Hudson River towns from Alpine south to the Vince Lombardi rest stop on the NJ Turnpike, and west to Paterson. The count day is December 17th. As per the Audobon site, there are a dozen leaders covering portions of this circle (the closest to HP). If interested to volunteer, please contact David Hall (973-226-7825) or david.hall@einstein.yu.edu and you may also wish to look at the website for Bergen County Audubon Society (click on field trips).
According to David Hall, as reported in the Bergen Record, the count numbers have shown definite patterns over the years; southern birds extend their winter range north into New Jersey and northern birds no longer extend as far south as the Garden State. A bald eagle sighting would have been rare a decade ago, but now these are commonly seen. (He also mentions that the wild turkey population is doing well!).
Please enjoy these photos of bald eagles taken in HP last year by EC and Green Team member Cindy Kennedy.

Another option is the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) that will be held February 17-20, 2012. The GBBC is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are across the U.S. and Canada. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online. Each checklist submitted by these citizen scientists helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing – and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, participants turned in more than 92,000 checklists online, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded. Visit the official website at http://www.birdcount.org for more information.
Please enjoy these photos of bald eagles taken in HP last year by EC and Green Team member Cindy Kennedy.

(Information for this posting is from the Audubon web site FAQ
http://birds.audubon.org/get-involved-christmas-bird-count
and from the Dec 9th Envirowatch article by Bergen Record Staff Writer James M O’Neill)

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