Time for annual national Christmas bird count
Citizen scientists will flock to national parks for annual bird count
WASHINGTON – Starting next week, and through the holiday season, citizen scientists will once again fan out across America and America's national parks to count birds.
The National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count (CBC) began in 1900 and is one of the longest-running citizen science events in the world.
The CBC provides reliable data aimed at demonstrating the importance of national parks to birds.
National parks in almost every state will host bird counts again this year. The parks provide essential habitats for one or more species of breeding, wintering, and/or migrating birds.
Christmas Bird Counts also help inform the national State of the Birds Report.
"Our national parks and seashores and other public lands are critical safe havens for many species," explains National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, "especially in the face of climate change, one of the biggest challenges to habitat conservation for all species in the 21st Century."
The main purpose of the bird count is to gather data about trends and the general health of bird populations.
Another benefit of this enormous citizen science program, according to the National Park Service, is the important way it gains advocates and new enthusiasts for birds.
Each year, the CBC mobilizes more than 70,000 volunteers in more than 2,400 locations.
The 2014-15 count dates fall between Dec. 14, 2014 and Jan. 5, 2015.
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