This holiday season marks the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count sponsored by National Audubon.
On Saturday and Sunday the Audubon Center and Sanctuary is participating in the event with counting in Warren on Saturday and in Jamestown on Sunday. The public is invited to join tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas who will be taking part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations.
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 the excitement of friendly competition - and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.
The goal is to document all the species that are in a certain area, a 7 mile radius, on a given day. To do this, some volunteers divide into teams and span out across the countryside. Others sit at home and pay special attention to their bird feeders.
Armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists, each of the citizen scientists who braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. 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.
Jamestown Audubon has been part of the Christmas Bird Count since the 1940s. In the first counts, mallard ducks were rare. Today, they are very common.
There is no need to be an expert birder. Volunteers can also help by encouraging friends to fill their feeders, so when volunteers walk or drive by, there will be lots of activity.
After the count there will be a potluck dinner where participants trade tall birding tales and report their findings.
For more information about the Christmas Bird Count in Warren, call Don Watts at 814-723-9125. For information about the Christmas Bird Count in Jamestown, call Bob Sundell at 484-2197.
The Christmas Bird Count is the longest continuously running citizen science project. For information about its history, visit the National Audubon website at birds.audubon.or g/christmas-bird-count.
Information about all the programs of the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren, is available at jamestownaudubon.org or by calling 569-2345.