Christmas Bird Count, Sat. Dec. 17th!

Christmas Bird Count, Sat. Dec. 17th!

The Christmas Bird Count is an annual event where people go out and count birds. Join us for our first Christmas bird count through the Devil’s Lake State Park Nature Center Saturday, December 17 from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.

We’ll hike along the lake and record the bird species we see and hear. Bring a pair of binoculars or borrow a pair from the Nature Center. The trail (Tumbled Rocks) is relatively flat. We’ll end up hiking a little over 2 miles during the count. Be sure to dress for winter weather!! (Hats, boots, mittens or gloves, etc.,)

What is a Christmas Bird Count?

Prior to the turn of the 20th century, hunters engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” They would choose sides and go afield with their guns—whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.

Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then-nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition – a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.

The data collected by observers over the past century allows researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed over the past hundred years.

For more information check out the Audubon’s website at
Contact Sue Johansen, Devil’s lake State Park Naturalist
(608) 356-8301 Ext. 140
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