Fourth Annual Christmas Bird Count Scheduled For January
Mill Point, WV – The fourth annual Pocahontas Christmas Bird count is on January 4th, 2011. And if you participate, you’ll be part of the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, one that’s lasted for well over a century.
The count last year shattered records. There were more than 2100 counts conducted, with almost 61,000 volunteers braving the winter weather to make their observations. Collectively they found over 2300 species and nearly 56 million birds. According to the National Audubon Society, the sponsor for annual count, volunteers identified 200 more species last year than the previous year.
The counts are international, ranging from the United States and Canada to Central and South America, Guam, Bermuda, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico among others. And the counts are crucial to scientists who see the birds and their behavior patterns as a good monitor of how the environment is faring.
Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count started in 1900 when Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore, a publication that evolved into Audubon magazine, suggested an alternative to the side hunt. The side hunt involved teams competing to see who could shoot the most game, including birds. Chapman proposed that people count the birds rather than shoot them.
Data from the annual list not only has shown birds in urgent need of conservation action, it’s also tracked the comeback of previously endangered species like the Bald Eagle.
In Pocahontas County, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held on January 4th. Staging area for the count is Barnett Cabins at Mill Point. Members of the Pocahontas Nature Club and the West Virginia Dept of Natural Resources will divide up a 15 mile map into specific areas for the count. Each team of local and visiting birders will take to the backwoods, binoculars in hand, to look and listen for local birds. Lunch and coffee will be provided. For more information, call the Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-336-7009.