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Christmas Bird Count Motivations/Encouragement

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  • wagtail1997
    I posted the below essay on OrangeCountyBirding to try to increase participation on our County s Christmas Bird Counts. If you want to use the essay or modify
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2005
      I posted the below essay on OrangeCountyBirding to try to increase
      participation on our County's Christmas Bird Counts. If you want to
      use the essay or modify it anyway you want to "get out the vote" for
      your own regional Counts, please do so.
      Joel Weintraub
      Dana Point, CA

      CBC Counts: We need everyone's help

      My late brother used to say there were three types of people in the
      world. Those that make things happen, those that watch things happen,
      and those that open up their eyes and say "What happened?" When it
      comes to participation (or lack of it) in the annual Christmas Bird
      Counts, those categories seem to fit well.

      There are a cadre of birders, in the minority when compared to the
      memberships we see in birding Yahoo groups and local Audubon Societies
      in our area, that carry the "load" and participate in not just one,
      but multiple Christmas Bird Counts each year. These birders not only
      get a "high" by using their skills for citizen science, but also use
      the occasion as a learning and social experience. There is always
      something to learn from the experienced field observer to the
      beginning birder, and there is always a place for both on Count day.

      A Google search on reasons for participating in the Count and my own
      thoughts on the matter include: by force of numbers we make our
      presence known among the citizens and politicians of our communities
      and thus represent a political force; publicity generated by such
      counts appears in newspapers and other media and elevates public
      awareness of conservation problems and land preservation; we show
      that non-consumptive use of wildlife is just as important to a large
      segment of the public as people who hunt the same species we might
      tally; population data accumulated from the Counts support bird
      conservation initiatives; the information can be used to test success
      rates of reintroduction efforts; information accumulated is used to
      determine the effects of disease (such as the West Nile Virus) and
      weather on bird populations; as urbanization increases, the
      information is crucial for seeing population trends in our native and
      introduced species; it continues a tradition started on 25 December
      1900 by Frank Chapman and 26 other concerned citizens in 13 states as
      a response to a traditional indiscriminate killing of birds around the
      same date; you join over 50,000 other birders doing over 1800 count
      circles who show their love of bird watching with their participation;
      one individual can make a difference in these types of counts; it is a
      holiday tradition, and for our own mental health, we need to
      participate, encourage others to participate, and maintain such
      events; it's a small payback we can make to a hobby that gives many of
      us a great amount of satisfaction; it gives us a chance to try out our
      new gadgets... digital cameras, new binoculars, ipods, etc. and
      justify the cost to our families (and ourselves); it gets us away from
      our televisions and computer monitors and into the field and improves
      our mental and physical health; and everyone who participates
      probably has additional reasons and individual stories of past events
      (and good species and friendships found).

      So...don't be in the group that watches things happen by others or
      procrastinates about missing happenings, and contact the regional
      coordinators of Orange County's Christmas Bird Counts for placement on
      coverage teams. It's not too late and many teams I know could use an
      extra pair of eyes and data-takers. Information on the Orange County
      Count leaders can be found on the Sea and Sage Home Page (
      http://www.seaandsageaudubon.org/ ). Last winter 90 observers
      participated on the NE Orange County Count and 161 species were
      counted, while 96 people helped on the Coastal count with 197 species
      seen, and 40 individuals saw 155 species on the South County Count.
      For the rest of California's upcoming Christmas Bird Counts see
      http://natureali.org/cbcs.htm which showed for our state that last year:

      Highest Number of Participants: 203 Oakland
      Lowest Number of Participants: 1 South Lake Tahoe
      Highest Species Count Circle: 200 Santa Barbara
      Lowest Species Count Circle: 30 Mineral
      Highest temp: 75ºF Salton Sea South
      Lowest temp: 16ºF Bear Valley Springs & Woodfords

      Joel Weintraub
      Dana Point, CA
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