Friday, December 19, 2008

Big Bird Count in Queens Dec. 20 - Queens Chronicle

Read original...

In a tradition that dates back to 1900, every year fans of our feathered friends conduct the Christmas Bird Count for the Audubon Society — an event billed as “citizen science in action.”

In Queens, the count will be held Dec. 20. Anyone who’s interested in participating should email Bob Dieterich at, visit or call the city Audubon Society at (212) 691-7483.

The count began as an anti-hunting measure. It was conducted for the first time on Christmas Day in 1900 as an alternative to the “side hunt,” in which people divided themselves into groups and then went out and shot as many birds as they could. The group with the most dead birds won.

Frank Chapman, a famed ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History and the editor of Bird-Lore recognized that bird populations could not withstand wanton over-hunting and proposed counting them on Christmas instead of killing them.

The idea caught on, and now the event is an early winter avian census conducted in 19 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Volunteers count every bird they see or hear within a designated area during a single day.