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Gardening & More: Local Christmas bird count events

ALL ATWITTER — You might see a downy woodpecker, when you participate in one of Audubon’s Christmas bird count events. Scientists use collected data to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. Photo by Terry LeBaron courtesy of Jamestown Audubon.
HAMBURG — You can help scientists collect critical data on bird population trends, as part of Audubon’s annual Christmas bird count.

Several events will be held in our area, during the coming weeks, and you may participate in more than one. You must make arrangements in advance, but anyone can participate.

Here’s how it works. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile diameter circle and is organized by a count compiler. If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.

Count volunteers follow specified routes through the circle, counting every bird they see or hear, all day. It’s not just a species tally; all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle, that day.

If your home is within the boundaries of a Christmas bird count circle, you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day, as long as you have made prior arrangements with the count compiler.

Saturday, Dec. 14 in Warren, Pa.
The Jamestown Audubon will host this event. For more information about how to participate, call Don Watts at 814-730-9204.

Sunday, Dec. 15 in Jamestown
The Jamestown Audubon will host this event. For more information about how to participate, email Bill Seleen at wseleen@stny.rr.com.

Sunday, Dec. 15 in Buffalo
If you would like to participate, contact David Gordon at dgordonphoto@yahoo.com or 390-1429.

Saturday, Dec. 21 in North Java
The Buffalo Audubon Society will hold an event from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meet at Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, located at 1610 Welch Road in North Java. The building will open at 7 a.m. For more information, email info@buffaloaudubon.org or call 585-457-3228, or call Chuck Bartlett at 800-377-1520.

Saturday, Dec. 28 in Hamburg-East Aurora
Compiler Thomas O’Donnell said that he may be able to connect new watchers with current participants who can then make arrangements for assistance, as needed. Contact him at tmodonnell@roadrunner.com, explaining your birding level and how you can help. If you live within the count circle, you can participate as a feeder watcher.

In previous years, there was a charge to participate, but the program is now free, supported by donations alone.

The Christmas bird count started in 1900 and is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world. The data collected by observers during the past century allows researchers, conservation biologists and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.

When combined with other surveys, such as the breeding bird survey, this provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed, in time and space.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.
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