Each year, during the time period of December 14th through January 5th, the National Audubon Society (NAS) sponsors the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The CBC is the longest-running citizen scientific survey in the world. This event was started on Christmas Day in 1900 by Ornithologist, and founder of Bird Lore, Frank Chapman. Bird Lore was the predecessor magazine of the NAS. Chapman initiated the bird count in contrast another annual event named the Side Hunt. In the Side Hunt, participants chose “sides” and those teams went into the countryside to kill any bird or animal they could and the winning team was the one who killed the most game.
The CBC is systematically arranged into various regional “Circles” which span a 15-mile radius in a given locale. Each “Circle” is led by a Compiler who organizes and is trained to manage the bird count. Volunteers survey various portions of the area within the Circle and report their findings to the Compiler who, in turn, reports their Circle’s findings to the NAS. In Seneca County, there are two Compilers, Jim Coffman and Tom Bartlett. Anyone wishing to participate must be associated with a Compiler for their values to be accepted by the NAS.
Anyone wishing to volunteer for this area’s CBC, which begins on December 14 may contact Coffman at firstname.lastname@example.org. One does not need to be an expert birder to participate. Volunteers with limited birding training or background are teamed with a more experienced birder who will assist in identification counting techniques. The CBC is an enjoyable and educational experience that anyone can be a part of and your efforts help the NAS make determinations regarding the status and trends of our local bird populations. For additional information, search the NAS website.