It’s that time of year again! Birders across the country are gearing up for the 2018 Christmas Bird Count, the nation’s longest-running community science bird project.
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 Austin Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held on Saturday, December the 15th. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up if you wish to participate.