Residents can delight in spotting their favorite birds and contribute to an important national community science survey through the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count this weekend.
During the national survey, the National Audubon Society mobilizes more than 80,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,600 locations in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America to track the health of bird populations, according to an Audubon press release.
Each group of volunteers counts birds in 15-mile-diameter circles. The Audubon’s bird count map shows circles in Lake St. Clair, Port Huron and Sanilac County.
Mike Florian, a data compiler for the Lake St. Clair count, said volunteers are needed for that circle’s count on Sunday. Volunteers can count birds from a home bird feeder or join groups of volunteers hiking and birdwatching in the circle.
Lake St. Clair’s circle includes portions of Cottrellville, Ira and Clay townships, as well as Harsens Island and portions of Macomb County.
To volunteer, contact Florian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sanilac County bird count, which is centered in Carsonville and includes Port Sanilac and portions of Washington, Bridgehampton and Sanilac townships, will be held Friday. Compiler Daryl Bernard said volunteers are welcome to count birds at feeders. Last year, the count recorded 72 species of bird, he said.
To volunteer for the Sanilac County bird count, contact Bernard at email@example.com.
A date has not been set for the Port Huron bird count, according to the bird count map.
Volunteers will record every individual bird and bird species seen in each circle, contributing to the annual survey that has taken place since 1900.
“The Christmas Bird Count is a great tradition and opportunity for everyone to be a part of 123 years of ongoing community science,” said Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count director. “Adding your observations to twelve decades of data helps scientists and conservationists discover trends that make our work more impactful. Participating in the Christmas Bird Count is a fun and meaningful way to spend a winter for anyone and everyone.”
When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, the Christmas bird count shows how North American’s bird populations have changed over time and geographic area over the past hundred years, providing a vital long-term perspective for conservationists, the Audubon Society said.
“It certainly helps us understand what populations of birds are doing well, what ones are struggling. It also helps us understand the shift in population,” Florian said. “We’re now seeing because of (climate change), we’re now seeing birds that can’t take the heat heading further north and showing up in the Midwest or the northern parts of the country, or the opposite, they’re heading south.”
The count informs strategies to protect birds and their habitats and helps identify environmental issues for people as well. The Christmas bird count data has been used in more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, the society said.
To learn more about the Christmas bird count, visit christmasbirdcount.org. The Audubon’s free Bird Guide app is also available on Apple and Android devices.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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