Saturday, Dec. 30—PROCTOR—The annual Rutland County Audubon Society (RCAS) Christmas Bird Count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 30. This has been an RCAS tradition for over 40 years. Field team participants and feeder watchers within each count circle have been recruited, and are always needed. The countdown and potluck following the day’s count will follow at the Proctor Library at 6 p.m. Bring a dish to share. Beverages and utensils will be provided. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathleen Guinness at 802-287-9338 to be a participant.
The Christmas Bird Count originated on Christmas Day in 1900, when ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an officer in the newly organized Audubon Society, suggested a Christmas Bird Census that would count birds during the holidays, and take the place of the Christmas Side Hunt. This annual hunting tradition was a contest where whoever brought in the largest number of birds (and other animals) won. That first bird count inspired 27 birders from Toronto to California to participate, with a tally of 90 specimens in the combined 25 counts.
Each year Audubon and other organizations use the data collected to assess the well-being of bird populations and to help guide conservation action. The data collected by observers (citizen scientists) provide valuable information to Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and interested individuals to study the health and status of bird populations across North America. This data is combined with that collected from other surveys, such as the Breeding Bird Survey to show how our bird populations have changed over the past hundred years. The long-term perspective informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues, with implications for people as well. For more information, visit audubon.org.
Photo courtesy of RCAS
A black-capped chickadee is one of the birds that stays around to weather the winters in New England.