Martha’s Vineyard Christmas Bird Count will be Friday, 12/30/2016
Each year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled on Martha’s Vineyard will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.
BiodiversityWorks is delighted to collaborate with Mass Audubon at Felix Neck to contribute to this effort by coordinating the annual CBC for Martha’s Vineyard and compiling the data to submit to Audubon. On the Vineyard, we have 13 territories, and each has a captain. Most teams are out before dawn to go owling, and we bird until sunset. All teams gather at the Wakeman Center for the tally at 5:30 pm on the day of the count. If you are interested in participating, email LuanneJ@biodiversityworksmv.org and she will do her best to find a team for you to join.
We also need data from bird feeders. If you would like to submit data from your feeder, you can download instructions and a data sheet via this link:
(excel version) mvcbc_feedercountparticipantdatasheet
You can report your feeder data from 2 – 4 pm by calling it in to Felix Neck Sanctuary (508-627-4850). Volunteers will collect the data and report it for the tally.
Citizen science efforts are critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. The CBC data enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study. The tradition of counting birds, combined with modern technology and mapping, is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades. To date over 200 scientific articles have been published from analysis of CBC data.
ruby crowned kinglet
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird?Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine – suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. 116 years of counting birds is a long time, but the program somehow brings out the best in people, and they stay involved for the long run. And so the tradition continues.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a citizen science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to chip in. For more information visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.
Many thanks to Lanny McDowell Avian Art for sharing his beautiful bird images with us!