The mercury is falling, the daylight fading—it must be time for the Christmas Bird Count! This is the 114th year of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), run by Audubon and originally conceived as a conservation-minded alternative to a 19th-century holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” Now it’s the longest-running citizen science project in the world, with more than 50,000 observers in 17 different countries! The local Peterborough count got its start in 1973.
The CBC provides scientists with a wealth of data on changing bird populations. Here in the Granite State, CBC data has documented the appearance of several southern species, including Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, and Tufted Titmouse. If you are a longtime resident of New Hampshire, you may remember a time when these species were quite rare. Although range expansion and contraction are a normal part of population dynamics, scientists suspect that climate change will play an increasingly important role in shifting wildlife populations, and they will be turning to CBC data to help track the changes.
Join the fun and sign up for the 40th Annual Christmas Bird Count in Peterborough, Hancock, and surrounding towns on Saturday, December 14. You don’t need to be an expert! For details and to sign up, please contact Dave Rowell at (603) 924-8790. Kids can participate too, as part of the New Hampshire Young Birders Club; visit our Family Programs page for more information!