I did not get interested in birds until I was almost fifty.  I was still working, but some friends in Virginia where I lived at the time told me about the Christmas Bird Count, and encouraged to give it a try.  I was busy in my work, and traveled a lot, and had never been a part of any organized group, and certainly was a novice birder.  It was a great experience, and I have never missed a Christmas Bird Count since.  Usually I do at least four to six counts each season.  That is too make sure I am exhausted by the end of the holiday season.  Many of the counts have very traditional practices especially around compilation.  Some meet for breakfast, some for lunch, and several have compilation dinners at the end of the day.  What a great way to finish off a adventurous day.  Every each years count day, birds, weather, etc. are different.  Please, you must give it a shot.  Oooops wrong last word.  Do it, you will love it.
 
Charley Burwick
Greater Ozarks Audubon
Springfield, Mo.
Greene County.

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 6:39 AM, Bill Eddleman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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: 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]> 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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