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December 28, 2007

Bird counts continue during holidays

The National Audubon Society continues tradition this year, offering avid birders an opportunity to volunteer with the 108th annual Christmas Bird Counts.

The Christmas Bird Counts, the world’s largest volunteer survey of its kind, have been in existence for more than 100 years, and are only made possible through efforts of thousands of volunteers. This year is the 108th anniversary for the counts, which originated in 1900 when 27 conservationists decided to protest the traditional bird shoot, and instead of killing the birds with guns, they counted them on Christmas Day in 1900.

To-date, there are more than 2,000 Christmas Bird Counts conducted in the United States, with more than 20 that occur right here in South Carolina. During the Christmas Bird Counts, all birds within a 7.5-mile radius are identified by species and counted during a 24-hour period. Most counts begin at 7 or 8 a.m. and last the entire day.

According to Jeff Mollenhauer, Director of Bird Conservation for S.C. Audubon, "Data that is generated from the Christmas Bird Counts provide scientists with valuable information about population trends and distribution of our wintering birds. The Counts are also a great way for beginners to team up with knowledgeable bird watchers and experts to learn more about birds in South Carolina."

For a complete listing of South and North Carolina Christmas Bird Counts, dates, and contact information, visit National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count or the Carolina Bird Club.

Count participants are asked to pay a $5 fee to defray costs of the program; observers 18 years of age and under count for free. The National Audubon Society will publish count results and participants’ names.

A list of scheduled counts in South Carolina, and contacts for additional information, includes:

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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