From the Audubon Society’s web page:
“Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”: They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.
Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.
So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Frank M. Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.”
So, this will be the 115th CBC. Where will you be? If you are in Oregon the Oregon Birding Association (formerly the Oregon Ornithologist Organization) compiles a list of the scheduled CBC’s for the state and it can be found here: Oregon CBC’s. The list contains contact information for each count.
I usually do two; the Forest Grove and Columbia Estuary counts. This year i will be adding the Tygh Valley count.
“From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.”
Unless it takes a twitch to get you in the field, you’ll probably be out there anyway. Find one and sign up. EOM