If you are a birder, there's a great event coming up this month. It's the 113th Christmas Bird Count.
Hundreds of people throughout the Americas will grab their binoculars, bird guides and checklists and head out - no matter what the weather - and look for birds.
The Audubon Society says CBC, the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, provides critical data on population trends. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent's bird populations have changed in time and space over the past 100 years.
[Locate a bird count circle near you]
Since the CBC began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteer citizen scientists.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count harnesses volunteer power to gather knowledge that shapes conservation policy at enormous scales in this country, said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold.
Last year a total of 2,248 counts and 63,223 people tallied over 60 million birds. Counts took place in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces, plus 99 count circles in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.
The Christmas Bird Count season is December 14 through January 5 each year. Your local count will occur on one day between those inclusive dates. If you have more than one local count, they will probably be conducted on different dates within the CBC season. You can pick the most convenient date, or participate in more than one count.
There is a specific methodology to the CBC, but everyone can participate. The count takes place within Count Circles, which focus on specific geographical areas. Each circle is led by a Count Compiler. So if you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.
In addition, if your home is within the boundaries of a Count Circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder once you have arranged to do so with the Count Compiler.
There is no fee to participate