Christmas Bird Count

It was a great pleasure to participated in the Christmas Bird Count for the first time this year. I had heard about the Christmas Bird Count but honestly did not think I would see any interesting birds in the middle of winter.  I generally concentrate my birding in the spring and tend to nurture other interests in the fall and winter. Which explains why I never see American tree sparrows, snow buntings or horned larks, all of which I saw on my outing December 27th! I saw 24 species that day.  The outing was organized by Bertrand Hamel of the Club d’Ornithology Brome Missisquoi (COBM) and ended with a gathering of participants to compile results after a shared meal in Cowansville. We an area with a diameter of 24 km into 16 groups and recorded 49 species in the Cowansville area.

The Christmas bird count is an annual event that has its roots in an annual Christmas hunting contest. On Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer of the Audubon Society, proposed a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Since then birders all over North America organize themselves to choose territories and a day over the holidays to go birding and report on the birds found.  This data is is compiled and available for research on wildlife conservation. For more information see the Audubon society’s web page on the Christmas Bird Count.



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