Sunday, November 27, 2011

Take Part in the Wichita Falls Christmas Bird Count

The Wichita Falls Christmas Bird Count is scheduled for December 17. This is probably the longest-running citizen science project in the world. This is the 112th CBC. I looked up the data for the Wichita Falls CBC on the Audubon site, and it appears the 1st CBC for our area was conducted in 1973-1974, although no species data is available on line. On-line species data doesn't show up until the 1990-1991 count. The highest species count is 91. Historically, last year was a pretty good year with 85 species reported. Every bird is counted.

The CBC's are conducted within a 35-mile circle. For the Wichita Falls CBC the North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club divides the circle into 3 parts, with a separate group birding each section. At the last club meeting, team leaders were assigned. Individuals volunteer to participate on the teams.

I will be coordinating the Lake Wichita area team. Terry McKee will organize the Lucy Park/Wichita Falls area and Jimmy Hoover will lead the group working the area near Iowa Park. In our count area, the teams go out around sunrise (usually around 7:30 AM) and bird until they feel they have canvassed their area thoroughly. The count is followed by the count spaghetti supper at a member's house where the teams report their species totals for a total count. Debra McKee is the official compiler for the count; she forwards all of the information to the Audubon Society, which maintains the database.

Anyone may participate in the count. You do not need to be an expert birder. Assistance with record keeping or sighting birds is always needed. There is a cost of $5 for participants 19 years old and older. The $5 is a donation to the Audubon Society to maintain the database. In addition to the teams, individuals may choose to watch the feeders in their backyard and forward their numbers to the team coordinator for their area. People may choose to take part all day or any portion of the day. The count supper is a pot luck, and everyone is invited to attend.

If you would like to take part in the CBC, contact me at, and I will put you in touch with the team coordinator for your area.

Good birding!

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