IRON RIVER—The 2011 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held Sunday, Dec. 18.
This volunteer count continues a tradition begun in 1900 by ornithologist Frank Chapman, who was seeking a replacement for the usual holiday habit of indiscriminate shooting of songbirds.
From the original 27 participants in 25 counts, the activity has expanded to over 2,000 count circles and tens of thousands of participants.
The Iron River CBC has been held since the early 1980s.
Any person interested in participating is asked to call Dave or Beth Tiller at 265-5242 before the count or meet at the Main Street Cafe here at 7 a.m. on Dec. 18.
There is a $5 participation fee that supports the publication and analysis of the data collected.
All counts are held between Dec. 14, and Jan. 5 nationwide, counting all species and individuals found within a 15-mile diameter circle.
In Iron River, the circle’s center lies at the intersection of M-189 and U.S. 2. It is divided into pie-shaped slices, with the number of slices and surveying teams depending on the number of available volunteer observers.
These areas are searched from early morning to dusk by different groups, couples or individuals, mostly by car.
Additionally, a number of people with feeders also keep track of their feeder birds on that chosen day.
“If you have a feeder, consider filling it for these days before the count,” said a spokesperson.
The numbers are compiled by regional compilers and entered into a massive data base created through a joint effort of Cornell University and the National Audubon Society. Anyone can view this years’ count or previous count years at Audubon.org or Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology at birdsource.org .