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Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtledoves...
Calling all birdwatchers! Mark your calendars because in one week, starting on December 14th, there is a chance to count birds to participate in Audubon’s 112th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC)! The CBC is an early-winter bird census that takes place all over the world.
The story behind the count dates back to 1900 when Frank Chapman, an ornithologist at the American Natural History Museum, decided rather than shooting birds and other animals to see which hunters could amass the biggest pile it would be more fun to simply count the birds. It was probably one of the earliest forms of modern conservation.
Last year’s CBC was a record breaker with 62,624 people tallying over 60 million birds. It was a global wide effort with counts in all fifty states, all of Canada’s provinces, 107 count circles in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Haiti supplied it’s first count ever last year as well.
Audubon’s Chief Scientist, Gary Langham says the CBC is a “globally recognized example of crowd-science” which is another term for crowdsourcing. The yearly count has been a great help to scientists who use the wealth of data culled by the birding community for peer-reviewed studies and to report on how climate change is affecting bird populations worldwide. The information also helps determine which birds are in peril and need to be placed on a Watch List to start developing ways to protect them.
A local count will occur on one day between December 14th through January 5th. Now would be good time to learn more about birding in general and in your local community by joining a field party to participate in a count. The count will be done in a "Count Circle" which will focus on a certain geographical area about 15 miles in diameter. Each party is led by a Count Compiler. New participants are encouraged to join an existing circle to ensure accuracy. There is a $5 fee for all field participants 19 years or older. Children 18 and under bird for free!
If your house happens to be within the boundaries of a Count Circle you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder for free but only if you have arranged to do so with the Compiler in advance. Otherwise the data collected will not be valid. Birding from the comfy and warm confines of your home is definitely a perk if you live in a snowy winter state. If not, you’ll need to bundle up before heading out! No matter what the weather looks like outside don’t forget your binoculars!
Visit the Audubon’s site to find your local CBC circle and to learn more about birds and how to get started birding.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.