On December 14th, 2020, the 205th Sturbridge Christmas Bird Count will take place. This is part of a larger effort of the National Audubon Society that has been taking place for 121 years. Each year, between December 14th and January 5th, counts take place in established 15-mile diameter circles throughout the western hemisphere (check out this map, be sure to zoom out to see the full extent of the count circles). While this year will certainly be different (what isn’t different about this year) bird enthusiasts are still going to put in the effort to plan routes carefully and cover as much territory as possible without overlapping. We go out on a specified date (our Sturbridge Count is December 14th this year) and spend the entire time counting every single bird we see.
It is by far very different than the historical Christmas tradition of going out and shooting birds – the person with the most in the bag at the end of the day wins. It has morphed into the longest running citizen science project in the country. With some birders, that competitive nature remains and really drives the challenge of seeing the most species or having the highest total number of birds for the day. Instead of a bag full of feathers, we have a plethora of information.
This census yields some very interesting data trends, both locally and globally, which are far too numerous to note here but I encourage you to check out the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count page and see for yourself.
The center of our Sturbridge Circle is The Bird Store and More. Please, fill your feeders & keep your eyes peeled!
Just a reminder, it is hunting season. Please dress yourself and your pet in blaze orange when hiking in the woods!