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Counting birds for Christmas

This ruby-crowned kinglet gives the appearance of an ornament in a Christmas tree with its rounded appearance. This species is seen in the region into late fall.
TRR photos by Scott Rando

December 12, 2012

As the warm spell of the first week of December ends, there have been quite a few species of fall and winter birds spotted. Buffleheads, common and hooded mergansers, and ring-billed gulls are present on the nearby lakes, while passerines such as pine siskins partake at bird feeders. There have already been snowy owl sightings in New York State.

Very soon, you will have the chance to count these birds, and any others you see, for the cause of conservation. The 113th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place from December 14, 2012 through January 5, 2013. Organized by the Audubon Society, the Christmas Bird Count takes place throughout the Americas and is the longest running citizen science survey in the world. Scientists have used data from the CBC to examine such things as the effects of climate change and to identify species at risk due to habitat loss or other factors.

Several local bird clubs and other groups are participating in the CBC and will compile count data within their “count circle” (geographic area in their region). Counting methods will vary; some participants will even stay home and count the birds that come to their feeder.

To participate in the CBC, or for answers to any questions, find and contact a nearby participating group. Participating circles as well general information and past count data can be found at