The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages experienced birders to become citizen scientists by helping with the National Audubon Society’s 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 – including about 20 counts in Missouri.
The CBC is an annual bird census where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere count birds over a 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. CBCs gather data on winter bird populations to track their long-term trends. Each CBC has a coordinator that assigns portions of a 15-mile diameter count circle to participants to count all birds seen and heard. You can learn more about the count at audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count.
Sarah Kendrick, MDC ornithologist, offers these tips:
— If you’ve never participated in a CBC, tell the organizer so they can place you with an existing team of birders.
— Share your level of birding knowledge when you contact the CBC organizer so they can make sure you’re with a team with the experience to properly identify birds seen or heard.
— Dress warmly. Most CBCs will be held regardless of weather unless inclement weather is dangerous.
— Bring snacks and beverages to stay fueled for what will likely be a long day.
For more information on Missouri birds, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/search.