It is the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you enjoy birdwatching. Christmas Bird Count traditions provide a great way to spend time outdoors, learn about birds and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded birders. And the best part: it’s free.
Birders of all skill levels are welcome to the events, where groups will spend time canvassing established circular census areas, recording species and numbers of birds observed. Information recorded at events is entered into regional and national databases and can show population and migration trends. Some Christmas Bird Counts have been conducted for more than 100 years, and more than 2,000 events are conducted across the U.S. each year, so databases are extensive. There are usually more than 50 events conducted in Kansas each winter between Dec. 13 and January 9.
To learn more about Kansas Christmas Bird Count locations, go to the Kansas Ornithological Society’s (KOS) website, www.ksbirds.org. You’ll find a list of events scheduled to date, along with locations and contact information. To learn more about Audubon-sponsored events go to www.audubon.org.
All you need to participate is clothing appropriate for traipsing outdoors on a mid-winter day, a pair of binoculars, and a good field guide. Spotting scopes are handy if large wetlands or reservoirs are included in the census area. Add in a little adventurous spirit and some good friends and you have the recipe for a great day in the Kansas outdoors.
The first count in Kansas is this Sunday, at Kanopolis Lake. Others are then scheduled daily for the next couple of weeks at locations throughout Kansas.