The Friends of the Pawnee National Grassland and National Audubon Society invite birdwatchers to participate in the longest-running community science survey, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC).
On December 21, 2019 (Saturday), birders and nature enthusiasts in Nunn, Colorado will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate. The Friends of the Pawnee National Grassland is the compiler for our 53rd year of the Nunn Christmas Bird Count. It’s an exciting time for us and a chance for us to contribute to science.
Then on December 28, 2019 (Saturday), The Friends of Pawnee National Grassland will hold the first ever Pawnee National Grassland-East Christmas Bird Count! It’s an exciting time for us and a chance for us to contribute even more to science.
Throughout the years close to 70 bird species have been counted on the Nunn count—one year more than 8,000 individual birds were counted! You’ll definitely get to see the nomadic Horned Larks, and may get to see (or hear) our winter visitors from the north, Lapland Longspurs, on both counts. Birds of prey are a favorite, too. It’s a fantastic time to take a break from the frenzy of the Christmas holiday and enjoy the peace and solitude of the Pawnee National Grassland by counting birds while supporting Audubon science.
This year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will mobilize more than 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count uses the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled in Nunn, Colorado, will document every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast community science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.
“The Christmas Bird Count is a tradition that everyone can participate in,” said Geoff LeBaron, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Director. “Adding observations to more than a century of data helps scientists and conservationists discover trends that make our work more impactful. Participating in the Christmas Bird Count is a fun tradition for anyone and everyone.”
To date, more than 300 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. Bird-related community science efforts are also critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. This documentation is what enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking report, Survival by Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink. The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades.
Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this fun, nationwide community science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least ten volunteers, including a compiler to coordinate the process, count in each circle. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders instead of following routes.
To sign up for the Nunn Christmas Bird Count and/or Pawnee National Grassland-East Christmas Bird Count, please contact Gary Lefko aka the “Nunn Guy”, at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to visit The Friends of the Pawnee National Grassland’s website for more details.