Christmas Bird Count
Profile America — Monday, December 26th. Thousands of Americans got up early this morning to take part in a tradition more than 100 years old — the Christmas Bird Count. Started in 1900, the count was the idea of Frank Chapman — as an alternative to the tradition of the Christmas “side hunt,” in which hunters competed to see how many birds they could kill, regardless of their rarity or use as food. The first Christmas bird count saw 27 people take part. Recently, more than 50,000 volunteers have participated. Their work is coordinated by the Audubon Society and has become a valuable tool in assessing the health of bird populations and guiding conservation efforts. This year’s count runs through January 5th. Nearly 14 million people annually in the U.S. enjoy bird watching. Profile America is in its 15th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sources: Chase’s Calendar of Events 2011, p. 599
National Audubon Society
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 1240