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Southwest Florida Birders Join Audubon Christmas Bird Count

The longest-running citizen science survey is underway as hundreds of Florida birders document the numbers and species of birds in their area.

Southwest Florida bird enthusiasts are joining tens of thousands of others throughout the western hemisphere for the National Audubon Society’s 113th annual Christmas Bird Count. 

Armed with binoculars, cameras and guidebooks, birders have been doing the annual count since 1900. The cumulative data collected from throughout North American and close to 100 locations in South America provides valuable information about bird populations and helps guide conservation policy. 

“You can see some interesting observations about changes over time,” said Audubon of Collier County policy advocate Brad Cornell. “One of those is recognizing some impacts of climate change, and how birds move around and what you see where and how many you see where.”

The count began on Dec. 14 and runs through January 5th.  People with any level of expertise can participate.  “You don’t have to be an expert to go on a Christmas Bird Count,” said Jerry Jackson, Florida Gulf Coast University professor and ornithological expert.

“In fact, the Christmas Bird Count could be a really, really good learning experience for you because we usually go out in groups and there’s usually one or two good birders in a group and then people who are novices and the novices learn and the novices also help because they’ve got eyes and they spot things that the experts sometimes don’t.”

Visit Audubon.org to find a survey near you or visit FOSbirds.org for a complete listing of bird count survey’s in Southwest Florida.