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Christmas Bird Walk

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Christmas Bird Walk

By now, it is no secret that many birds are being stressed by climate change and habitat reduction. Although a handful of species have done surprisingly well, many Connecticut birds are suffering slow, steady population declines, according to the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Connecticut State of the Birds 2016 report.

Among the birds hardest hit are species that nest only in specialized habitats such as large grasslands, shrubby areas, beaches or tidal wetlands. One species, the saltmarsh sparrow, is so endangered its extinction is anticipated within 50 years.

Keeping an eye on the avian populations are dedicated birdwatchers who participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts, the 117th of which will take place Wednesday, December 14th, through Thursday, January 5th. Local counts take place on one day between those dates.

There is a specific methodology to the CBC, and all participants must arrange to participate in advance with the circle compiler within an established circle. Each circle encompasses a area 15-miles in diameter and volunteers follow specified routes, counting every bird they see or hear within that circle. All birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day.

Beginning birders can join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.

Those with homes within the boundaries of a CBC circle can stay at home and report the birds that visit feeders on count day as long as prior arrangements are made with the count compiler.

The data collected by CBC participants over the past century have become one of only two large pools of information informing ornithologists and conservation biologists how the birds of the Americas are faring over time.

There are several circles planned in this region: To participate, please note the following contacts -

Litchfield Hills Audubon Circle: compiler Raymond E. Belding,
hoatzin1@optonline.net; 860-482-4046.
In Barkhamsted: David Tripp, Jr., dtrippjr@gmail.com
In Lakeville-Sharon: compiler Sean Grace, sgrace@audubon.org
Iin Southern Berkshire: Rene Laubach, renelaubach@gmail.com

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