Redpoll photo by Pete Gilmore
This year’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in Newton takes place on Sunday, December 20th starting around 7 am. After all, the early birder gets the birds counted! This is the 121st year of the CBC and helps to measure changes in population of our avian species (and perhaps more global trends such as climate change). Perhaps you have heard that North America has lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the last 50 years. How do we know? Partially from the annual Christmas Bird Count!
This year, due to Covid, the count will be a little different than in past years. Sadly, we will not be meeting inside as usual in Newton Highlands for a kick-off with donuts and hot beverages. Plans are being formulated as to how this Newton CBC will work. Small teams will be organized which will meet in the field at designated locations. Masks will be required and distancing will be maintained. Car travel to the birding sites for those not in the same household will be independent.
Possibly there will be a small owling team at 5 am. Otherwise, there are 4 or 5 somewhat regular birding routes in different parts of the city which will commence at 7 am. Folks will be asked to sign up ahead of time and assigned to a group with a leader and given a meeting place. Groups will be small. Leaders will likely call or email in their results to a compiler who will consolidate the Newton results and provide to the overall Greater Boston Count.
The most common question of course is “how do you know you don’t count the same bird twice?” Well you can’t know for certain but we try our best! Your questions about the count can probably be answered at https://www.audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird– If you are interested in joining the count this year, please email Pete Gilmore (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To tune up your bird ID skills, check out Pete Gilmore’s video photo talk about Fall Birds at Cold Spring Park!