Franklin Bird Club celebrates its 6th year with the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Did You Know? The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began 115 years ago. The count was in response to the popular holiday activity of seeing how many birds a person could shoot in one day. Beginning on Christmas in 1900, birder Frank Chapman proposed a new tradition of counting birds rather than hunting them. Today, birds are counted by thousands of birding enthusiasts throughout the Americas. According to the Audubon Society, “Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.”
Franklin’s History with the Christmas Count: At the prompting of Bob Gilbert, the Franklin Bird Club applied to Audubon to be a site for the yearly count. The application included designating a circular area, 15 miles across, which was then divided among 5 teams of birders.
Teams for this year’s Christmas Count are now being set. Join us for a day of birding fun, time out of doors, and the chance to join citizen scientists from around the country.
From the Cornell Project FeederWatch site: “FeederWatch turns your love of feeding birds into scientific discoveries. FeederWatch is a winter-long (November-April) survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales in North America. Participants periodically count the birds they see at their feeders and send their counts to Project FeederWatch. Your bird counts help you keep track of what is happening in your own backyard and help scientists track long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. With FeederWatch, your observations become part of something bigger. www.FeederWatch.org
Anyone interested in birds can participate. FeederWatch is conducted by people of all skill levels and backgrounds, including children, families, individuals, classrooms, retired persons, youth groups, nature centers, and bird clubs. You can count birds as often as every week, or as infrequently as you like: the schedule is completely flexible. All you need is a bird feeder, bird bath, or plantings that attract birds.
New participants are sent a Research Kit with complete instructions for participating, as well as a bird identification poster, calendar, and more. You provide the feeder(s) and seed.
Project FeederWatch is supported almost entirely by its participants. The annual participation fee is $18 for U.S. residents ($15 for Cornell Lab members). The participation fee covers materials, staff support, web design, data analysis, and the year-end report (Winter Bird Highlights). Without the support of our participants, this project wouldn’t be possible.
WHAT DO FEEDERWATCH DATA TELL US?
When thousands of FeederWatchers in communities across North America count birds and send their tallies to the FeederWatch database, the result is a treasure trove of numbers, which FeederWatch scientists analyze to draw a picture of winter bird abundance and distribution.
FeederWatch data show which bird species visit feeders at thousands of locations across the continent every winter. The data also indicate how many individuals of each species are seen. This information can be used to measure changes in the winter ranges and abundances of bird species over time.
WHY ARE FEEDERWATCH DATA IMPORTANT?
With each season, FeederWatch increases in importance as a unique monitoring tool for more than 100 bird species that winter in North America.
What sets FeederWatch apart from other monitoring programs is the detailed picture that FeederWatch data provide about weekly changes in bird distribution and abundance across the United States and Canada. Importantly, FeederWatch data tell us where birds are as well as where they are not. This crucial information enables scientists to piece together the most accurate population maps.
Because FeederWatchers count the number of individuals of each species they see several times throughout the winter, FeederWatch data are extremely powerful for detecting and explaining gradual changes in the wintering ranges of many species. In short, FeederWatch data are important because they provide information about bird population biology that cannot be detected by any other available method.”