The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 18, 2013

Our View: Christmas Bird Count fun for family, good for ecosystem

Want to start a new holiday tradition? Start counting — birds, that is. Redbirds, wrens, chickadees all count.

Beginning Saturday and continuing through Jan. 5, area bird experts will be leading counts. It’s part of a national effort that began more than 100 years ago and is called the Christmas Bird Count.

Audubon and other organizations use the data collected in this census to learn more about the health of bird populations.

We enjoy the good fortune of having Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Wildcat Park here in Joplin where two bird counts are being scheduled including one at 8 a.m. Saturday and another just for kids at 9 a.m. Jan. 4. There is also the Sperry-Gallagar Audubon Chapter that meets monthly at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University.

Early risers can meet at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 27 at Prairie State Park in Liberal for an organized count or at 7 a.m. Dec. 28 at the Stockyard Plaza Truck Stop, a mile north of Parsons. Or bring in the new year with the sunrise at 7 a.m. Jan. 1 at Express Lane, five miles south of Cherokee, Kan.

Maybe you, your family and friends would like to hold your own bird count. You can find out how to do that and submit your own data at birds.audubon. org/christmas-bird-count to participate.

Grab your binoculars and a thermos of hot chocolate and go make time for the birds.

It’s a wonderful way to give back to an important part of the ecosystem.

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