Between the hustle and bustle of year-end holiday traditions enjoyed with family and friends, consider trying a new way to celebrate this magical time of year – the 117th Audubon Christmas Bird Count! This more-than-a-century-old free event will be hosted between December 14 and January 5, and birders of all skill levels are invited to join in.
“One of the really great things about this event is the camaraderie and fun,” explained Judy Pollock, project manager with Living Habitats. “Also, because birding beginners and those who may never have been birding before will be paired with experienced birders, this is an excellent opportunity for people to try this activity out.”
During the Christmas Bird Count, the public can pre-register to join in many of the established circles, five of which include Forest Preserves locations such as Cap Sauers Nature Preserve, the Palos Preserves, Beaubien Woods, Kickapoo Woods, Sand Ridge Nature Center, Busse Woods, and Skokie Lagoons. Each circle will host their count date sometime within the Christmas Bird Count date range:
To register or to check for up-to-date information, click here and select the circle you want to join to pull up contact information of the compiler.
The 117th Audubon Christmas Bird County is hosted by the National Audubon Society, and began in 1900 as an alternative to hunting birds. Since the beginning, participants spread out in selected 15-mile diameter circles at various locations to collect data on birds, in order to better guide conservation efforts that will positively impact birds and other wildlife.
Throughout 2016, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and numerous partners have been hosting a variety of events and programs inviting people to view and learn about some of the most interesting birds that can be spotted in the Forest Preserves. In addition to a monthly featured bird that can easily be spotted in the Preserves at an event or program, birders of all skill levels have been exploring the Preserves with teams competing in the Forest Preserves’ Big Year birding competition.
Click here to learn more about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. For more information on birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, click here.
Photo by Paul Dacko.