The fundamental purpose of the Audubon Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) is to record the number and species of birds that are found in each count area AND importantly, for participants to enjoy themselves. The first part sounds like a challenge, but it is an enjoyable challenge. Each team simply visits prime spots within their area and records what they find. The second just happens when birds are found and is why many folks participate. From the sightings collected and assembled with the data from counts around the country, much very useful information about birds will be gleaned and studied.
Participants do not need to be a “birder” to participate. On the contrary, these counts are an excellent opportunity for novices to see and learn about the area’s winter birds. About 85-90 species are usually found on the combined list of counts. Beginners will be placed with an experienced observer, so they can spend their time watching and enjoying while others do more of the counting. By far most of the birding is done by car from roadsides, so if you get chilled you have a place to warm up. By driving the roads of the assigned area and stopping at various appropriate habitats, a team can locate most of the birds. The counts themselves are an all-day affair, and are held snow or shine. It is possible to arrange to come for a half-day only. It is a good idea to dress warm and even bring an extra layer along. It is much less enjoyable to be trying to identify a bird while shivering.
Here is who to contact to participate:
The Kalamazoo Count is on Saturday, December 28: NOTE: Please contact Russ Schipper a couple of days before the count if you would like to participate, 375-7210 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the morning out counting we will meet at the People’s Church at 1758 North 10th Street at noon for a potluck lunch and to go over what has been found in the morning and see what species may have eluded us, which will be sought in the afternoon. The potluck will be held in room 8 at the back of the church. Please bring a dish to pass and table service. Hot tea and coffee will be provided. Those not participating are also most welcome to bring a table service and dish to pass and join us.
Also, the Kalamazoo Nature Center sponsors five additional counts in the area. To participate in the following, contact John Brenneman at least a few days before the count at (269) 381-1574 ext. 30 or email@example.com.
Battle Creek – Saturday, December 14
Dowagiac – Monday, December 16
Allegan – Sunday, December 29
Gobles – Friday, January 3
For the South Kalamazoo County Count on Wednesday, January 1, please contact Brenda Keith at least a few days before the count at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEEDER WATCHERS – The birds that come to feeders within a count area also can be counted. So, if you think you might live in one of the count areas, contact the compiler or Russ Schipper, 269-375-7210, or by e-mail at email@example.com to be sure. An hour or two over the course of the day is sufficient. Please call the compiler or Russ (see above) for instructions and a CBC feeder count form and to determine if you live within one of the CBC count areas.