Since 2005 the Mad Birders, a small volunteer birding organization in Washington County, Vermont, has been conducting an annual year-end bird count to assess the health of the winter population of birds in Northfield and the Mad River Valley. This year, the count will be held on December 16, 2022. The results from this count will be submitted to the National Audubon Society for inclusion in their extensive database, which compiles information from their annual Christmas Bird Count, an international event that began 123 years ago. The Mad Birders have renamed their event as the Winter Bird Count in order to be more inclusive. Capturing a snapshot of the number of birds seen in a specific area during the same season year after year enables us to better protect our bird populations.
Teams of birders will spend December 16 outdoors in the Mad River Valley and Northfield, scouring the landscape for every bird we can find. Members of the public are invited to participate in this effort in one of two ways. They can become a team member and spend a half or a full day in the field with other birders.
“If your home is located within our Circle, you can participate as a Feeder Watcher which entails watching your bird feeder(s) for at least 30 minutes that day and reporting the results to the Mad Birders. Alternatively, if you have bird feeders up and filled with seed and you can’t count yourself, let us know, and if your home is within our count circle boundaries, we will make an effort to have one of our teams stop by and count your birds that day. Lastly, if you see any interesting or unusual birds in the Mad River Valley or Northfield between December 13 and December 20, note the species, date and location and let us know,” explained spokesperson Pat Folsom.