Birding enthusiasts nationwide are encouraged to participate in the 111th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, believed to be the longest-running wildlife census in the world.
The citizen project, which begins Tuesday and runs through Jan. 5, 2011, helps scientists assess the size of bird populations in local communities.
Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile-diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally -- all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler.
Those interested in participating, be it at home or with a field party, need to register in advance. There is a $5 fee per field participant per count. Feeder watchers do not need to pay the fee, and all observers 18 and younger may count for free. Fees go toward funding the program and to help cover costs of generating materials, producing the annual summary and maintaining the CBC website and database.
A few of the frequently asked questions and answers posted on the Audobon website regarding the Christmas Bird Count are after the jump: