- Camilla Cerea/National Audubon Society
- Christmas Bird Count
Vermonters will join more than 70,000 bird counters at more than 2,400 sites across the Western Hemisphere as part of the 118th annual event. The practice started in 1900 on Christmas Day, as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “side hunt,” in which hunters would divide into teams to see which one could kill the most birds and animals. Ornithologist and Audubon Society officer Frank M. Chapman proposed a "Christmas Bird Census" to count birds instead of hunting them. The census is now the nation’s longest running citizen science bird project. Citizen science, says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is when “volunteers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions."
Each bird count is conducted in a circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least 10 volunteers break into small groups and count every bird they see along an assigned route or at a bird feeder.
Interested families can find contact information for Vermont's 23 bird count sites here. In mid-February, the Great Backyard Bird Count gives avian enthusiasts another opportunity to count birds, this time on their own property.
Learn more about Audubon Vermont at vt.audubon.org.