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Print

Audubon Christmas Bird Counts start Dec. 14

December 05, 2013 at 12:50 PM

The State Journal-Register


Chances are the roseate spoonbill spotted at Lake Springfield on Nov. 29 didn’t hang around for long.

Odds are even longer that such a bird will be spotted during the Springfield portion of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, scheduled for Dec. 22.

But the search for birds, both the usual residents and rare visitors, is part of the fun of the annual winter census.

“We always do better than I think we are going to,” said H. David Bohlen, assistant curator of zoology at the Illinois State Museum. “Usually we have several parties out and every party gets different birds because they are looking in different habitats. Then the numbers add up.”

Bohlen serves as the compiler for the Springfield count, one of dozens held around the state in the next few weeks.

Adams Wildlife Sanctuary, 2315 Clear Lake Ave., will host a Christmas Bird Count event from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 22. Participants can count birds at the feeders from inside the building or take the trail loop through the property to survey birds outside.

The official Christmas Bird Count season begins Dec. 14 and continues through Jan. 5. Birders have a 24-hour period to count as many birds as they can.
This is the 114th year for the survey.

Audubon calls it the “longest running citizen science survey in the world.”

Data from 2,300 count “circles” in the U.S., Canada and other countries in the Western Hemisphere are compiled each year. Circles are 15 miles in diameter.

The season is spread out over three and a half weeks so experienced birders can participate in more than one count.

A map of Christmas Bird Count circles in Illinois plus contact information for each can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/CBCIllinois.

For more information on the Christmas Bird Count program and its history, visit: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count.

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