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In Episode 4, The Crowd & The Cloud joins a 100 year-old conservation tradition. Scroll down to learn more about the people and projects featured in this segment.
Provide data on bird populations by counting birds during the Christmas holiday season.
Established in 1900, The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society. Every year thousands of volunteers across North America perform an early-winter bird census over a 24 hour period on one calendar day. The idea is to count as many birds as you can, as an alternative to hunting and killing as many birds as you can. Prior to the Bird Count, hunters would engage in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt." Whoever killed the most birds and mammals would “win”! But conservation was growing in popularity (think Teddy Roosevelt), so on Christmas Day in 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition, the "Christmas Bird Census" now known as The Christmas Bird Count. The original count yielded a tally of 90 species of birds, carried out by 27 volunteers across Canada and the US, but the Count has continued to grow every year since then.
Each year from November through early January, anybody interested in participating in the CBC, from expert birders to small children, can join through the Audubon Society’s website. Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout North America and a few other western hemisphere countries, take on often extreme winter weather (except in Florida, one of the locations seen in C&C program 4) to take part in the count around the Christmas holidays. Researchers from multiple organizations and The National Audubon Society use the data collected to assess the health of bird populations, in an effort to guide conservation.
Combined with other counts, such as the Breeding Bird Survey, data from the CBC helps piece together a big picture of how bird populations have changed over the past hundred years. Make plans now to ensure you’re part of the 118th annual Christmas Bird Count, which runs from December 14, 2017, to January 5, 2018!
The National Audubon Society has completed a continental analysis of how North America’s birds may respond to future climate change.
Global change and local solutions: Tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research.
For an introduction to the concept of “ecological mismatches,” something also touched on regarding plants and pollinators, and horseshoe crabs and Red Knots.