112th Annual Christmas Bird Count
is Coming in December!
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) began on Christmas Day 1900 thanks to the inspiration of ornithologist Frank M. Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders. A total of twenty-five CBCs were held that day ranging from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California. Those 27 original birders tallied around 90 species. Today 250 species is the highest number ever reported by any U.S. location in a single count. Observed on December 19, 2005 in the Matagorda County-Mad Island Marsh count circle around Matagorda and Palacios, Texas.
From “A Birder’s Guide to Pinellas County (Florida) by Ron Smith the first CBC in Pinellas was held in 1919 when just two birders submitted data and listed the location as St. Petersburg. No data was submitted again until 1928. Between 1928 and 1936 the count was run as either the St. Petersburg CBC or the Gulfport CBC. In 1937 the count became permanently known as the St. Petersburg CBC and has been conducted every year since.
The CBC is a census of the birds in the Western Hemisphere performed each year between December 14 and January 5. Each individual count is performed in a "count circle" with a diameter of 15 miles or 24 kilometers. Volunteers break up into small parties, following assigned routes that change little from year to year, counting every bird they see over a 24-hour period. Some people even watch backyard feeders and call in their counts.
The CBC is probably the longest running citizen science program still active today.
What is a Citizen Science Program?
Ordinary people actively helping to acquire knowledge and contributing to the conservation of our natural resources, and at the same time involved in activities they enjoy. The data collected can be used in management and conservation plans, and may also be used for policy development at the local, state and federal level.
To participate in local area Christmas Bird Counts contact:
Tampa CBC - January 2, 2012 contact Dave Bowman at email@example.com or 813-948-8576
Pasco County CBC – December 30, 2011 West Pasco Audubon contact Ken Tracey at firstname.lastname@example.org