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Birding is a fun and rewarding activity for individuals and families, but did you know your hobby can serve the conservation community too? Through Audubonís Citizen Science programs, amateur and expert birders of all ages can participate in structured groups or on their own, contributing valuable information for the study and protection of birds. Following are popular and effective programs you can join for free.
© Sally Conyne
© Kim Phillips
© Steven Saffier
Christmas Bird Count: Commonly referred to as CBC, this event involves more than 50,000 participants each year. The all-day count takes census of early-winter bird populations and the results are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology. What started out as an effort to count, rather than hunt, birds has become a century-old tradition that relies on volunteer birders like you. For more information, visit CBCís homepage.
Great Backyard Bird Count: Also known as GBBC, this Audubon/Cornell event held every February, is similar to CBC, collecting additional data to help answer important conservation questions, such as: How will this winter's record cold temperatures influence bird populations? As the name implies, these counts are aimed to be close to home; you canít get more local than your own backyard, school yard, local park or field. You can also get involved through your local chapter. For more information, visit GBBCís home page.
Project Feederwatch: This event is organized by Cornell and goes on all winter, surveying the birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locales throughout North America. In combination with CBC and GBBC, FeederWatch helps scientists track broadscale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. For more information, visit the Project FeederWatch home page.
Local Centers, Sanctuaries, and Chapters: Another great place to expand your birding experience is at your nearby nature center or reserve. These places often organize bird walks, owl prowls, and events like bird banding and localized bird counts that need volunteers. To find an event or Audubon center near you, visit our Center locator, or locate a local chapter near you.