BIRDERS BRAVE COLD FOR CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS
December 12, 2013
Christmas Bird Counts conducted across the state through mid-January
PRATT — Over the next few weeks, people from all walks of life will gather in prearranged meeting places, make plans of attack, dress against the elements, then march into the winter landscape to record bird sightings. Christmas bird counts follow time-honored traditions in Kansas, bringing dedicated birders together to make new acquaintances, renew old friendships, and learn more about birds and birdwatching. The counts also reveal important information about bird migration and population trends.
Christmas bird counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 counts are held across the nation each year. Each winter, about 50 individual count events occur in Kansas. More than 40 are scheduled so far this year with others to be announced. Count locations are scheduled in all corners of the state and points in between.
Christmas bird counts are conducted in traditional circular census areas, each with a 7.5-mile radius. This consistency ensures data collected is comparable for population trends over time.
Count events are easy to prepare for; the best tools being a pair of binoculars, a good field guide, and appropriate clothing and footwear for possible extreme weather. For those counting in an area with a lake, a spotting scope may be necessary to identify birds at long distances. It’s also a good idea to study species expected in your location.
There are many count compilers in Kansas who send data to the Kansas Ornithological Society (KOS), and there is no charge to participate. The KOS will accept data collected on counts conducted from Dec. 9 through Jan. 13, 2013. The official Audubon Christmas Bird Count period is Dec. 14 to Jan. 5 every year and there is no fee to participate in these counts.
Information about Kansas Christmas bird counts can be found at the KOS website, www.ksbirds.org. For details, just click “Kansas Christmas Bird Count information.” For more information about Audubon Christmas Bird Counts in Kansas, go to birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count.