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Environment & Energy

Count Some Birds


Whether an expert or a beginner, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is asking for your help.

Game Commission officials are asking wildlife enthusiasts to join tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the United States in the Audubon Society’s 113th annual Christmas Bird Count.

Local counts will occur on one day between December 14 and January 5. Volunteers can pick the most convenient circle or participate in more than one count.  Each circle focuses on one specific geographical area.

Game Commission spokesperson Jerry Feaser said the amount of participation in the count varies by county, but that a fair amount of people show up every year.

“Basically we have a lot of enthusiasts armed with binoculars, bird guides, and checklists heading out on this annual mission, often before dawn, and what they do is they provide us information that is basically the longest running wildlife census.”

Feaser said the main goal of the census is to assess the health of various bird populations across the state.

“We combine this data with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Atlas survey, it provides a good picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years,” Feaser said.

While there is a specific methodology to the count, the Game Commission encourages everyone to participate. The count will be led by an expert bird watcher, enabling beginning bird watchers to learn while they assist.

Feaser said those who enjoy wildlife or nature in general will enjoy the count.

“Bird watching and bird feeding are some of the biggest backyard activities around, and it’s a great way to get people interested in what type of wildlife they’re seeing in their own back yard while the winter is upon us.”

The Audubon Society keeps a list of local bird counts.