From Dec. 14 through the first week of January, families, scientists, students and bird enthusiasts of all ages and abilities across the United States will take part in one of the best forms of citizen science: Christmas Bird Counts. During CBCs, small groups span out in a designated area to identify and count all birds encountered. Information gathered is submitted to the National Audubon Society, where the data is compiled and available to scientists.
CBCs are a great opportunity to get outside to look at birds during a season not normally considered for outdoor time. And, novice birders can pair with and learn from more experienced birders to hone their skills.
About 40 different CBCs are held annually across Kansas, including ones at Cheyenne Bottoms on Dec. 18 and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 14.
The public is invited to participate in both area counts.
Birders will meet at the Quivira refuge headquarters at 7:30 a.m. and again there at noon on Thursday, Dec. 14. Lunch is provided, but people are asked to preregister by calling 620-486-2393.
For the Cheyenne Bottoms CBC, come to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18. All are welcome to attend and there is no charge, but participation for at least half of the day is recommended, KWEC Director Curtis Wolf said. Most of the birding is done from vehicles, but proper outdoor attire should be worn. A lunch will be provided to participants courtesy of the KWEC and The Nature Conservancy. Preregistration is required. Call the KWEC, 877-243-9268, for more information.