Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Bird Count

Join in the Annual Christmas Bird Count at Hagerman NWR!

This popular yearly event is organized by Austin College Ornithologist Dr. Wayne Meyer for the Hagerman Circle as part of the  annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.  Here is the history behind the modern Christmas Bird Count, according to Audubon:

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt": They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.
Conservation was in its beginning stages around in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a "Christmas Bird Census"-that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.
So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined. 

The Hagerman Circle count will be held on December 19 from 7 am to 5 pm.  Meet at the Visitor Center at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and each person will be assigned to a team and work for half or all day. Experience is not required! What we need most are eyes to help find the birds for this important data gathering effort. Snacks will be provided by Friends of Hagerman NWR at the close of the count, at the Count Social, 4 - 6 pm. 

In addition Dr. Meyer will be tallying the owl count at 4:00 am for you extra early risers.

There is also another way people can contribute.  Any bird feeders within the count circle can be included in the day’s tally.  If you prefer,  you can be a feeder watcher if you live in one of these communities within the Hagerman NWR circle: Pottsboro, Sherwood Shores, Cedar Mills, Mill Creek, Locust, Fink, Tanglewood, Georgetown, Preston, and Gordonville. Please leave your email when registering so detailed instructions can be sent to you.

You can register for the  Christmas Bird Count by calling the Refuge, 903 786 2826.  

The  116th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count joins thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas from December 14 through January 5. This is the longest-running citizen science census in the world, and is used to assess the health of bird populations.   According to Audubon, 

The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years.
The long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat - and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well. 

There are over 2,300 “circles” including the Hagerman Circle that provide this important information to Audubon. For more information go to:

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