Annual Christmas Bird Count Takes Flight This Weekend

Annual Christmas Bird Count Takes Flight This Weekend

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If you want to participate in over a hundred years of bird research in your area, join the National Audubon Society’s 124th Christmas Bird Count starting this weekend in Arkansas.

The Natural State is home to more than 420 bird species.

Kevin Krajcir is the compiler for the Christmas Bird Counts in Little Rock and Lonoke County. He mentioned that this activity is the oldest and most extensive community science project, providing individuals of all experience levels an opportunity to contribute to vital scientific research. This year, Arkansas is hosting 30 Christmas Bird Count circles.

“Folks go out to these predetermined circles, and they count every bird that they can within those circles,” Krajcir explained. “The circles are formed around a center point and have a 15-mile diameter around that point. For example, Little Rock: The point is downtown and includes a 15-mile diameter around the city.”

According to Krajcir, a study conducted by Cornell University titled “3 Billion Birds” has found a significant decrease in bird populations. The research, which was based on the analysis of data from Christmas Bird Count and other datasets, indicated that North America has lost almost 25% of its total bird population since 1970.

Cardinal purchasing in a Hawthorne tree a couple of winters ago.
Cardinal perched in a Hawthorne tree a couple of winters ago.

Krajcir highlighted the partnership between the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They all work together to use the data from the Christmas Bird Count to forecast the trends in bird populations. He also stressed that the long-term data demonstrates the impact of climate change on the birds’ habitat and range.

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“They’ve done these habitat suitability models for about 600 different bird species using Christmas Bird Count and other data,” Krajcir pointed out. “They found that if we don’t work to limit climate change, then we could put up to two-thirds of these birds, so about 400 different species of the 600 analyzed, on the brink of extinction.”

Krajcir mentioned that the Little Rock count will start on Saturday, followed by the Lonoke count on Sunday. The National Audubon Society conducts an annual Christmas Bird Count, which takes place from today through January 5th, covering the United States, Canada, Central America, and South America.

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(Information for this article was obtained through the Public News Service.

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