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Christmas Bird Counts began in 1900 as an alternative to the "Christmas side 
hunts" that used to be done prior to federal laws preventing shooting of 
songbirds and other species. As they have evolved, the protocole is to count 
all birds that can be seen in a circle of 7.5 miles radius, in 24 hours. 
Obviously, not all birds are counted, because the number of participants in 
a given count ranges from 1 to over 100. These events are for all skill 
levels, and oftentimes in my experience, the newbies are placed with 
experienced birders.

The CBCs are coordinated by the National Audubon Society, and they also 
collate the data and make it available. While the method is not terribly 
prone to be scientific, data can be standardized by numbers of birds seen 
per party hour (parties are 1 or more people birding in one part of a county 
circle) or per party mile. Distance traveled by foot and by vehicle are 
recorded, as well as time spent on foot, by vehicle, owling, or at feeders.

For more information on the Christmas Bird Count, including locations and 
dates of many of them throughout the US, Canada, and Central America, see:
http://www.audubon.org/Bird/cbc/

For information on many Missouri counts, see:
http://www.mobirds.org/CBC/CBCSchedule.asp

----Bill Eddleman, Cape Girardeau

---- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christina McClarren" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:12 AM
Subject: What are Christmas Bird Counts - for all the novices on here


> So, for all us novices on here and the young folk, what are Christmas Bird 
> Counts, what are they done for, and how are they done?  What experience do 
> you need?  Will there be people there to teach newbies?  And is there a 
> central schedule of them all?
>
> Chris McClarren
> St. Louis South City
> [log in to unmask]
>
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