Mad Birders will participate in their 15th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Friday, December 20. Nine teams of three to four will be covering the 15-mile diameter circle that includes much of the Mad River Valley, Northfield and Roxbury in search of as many bird species as possible. Most teams will be out from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Christmas Bird Count started in 1900 when ornithologist Frank Chapman suggested a Christmas Bird Census to replace the side hunt, which had become a tradition of hunters going out and killing as many birds as possible. That first CBC had 27 birders completing 25 circles and finding 90 species. Last year 2,585 CBC circles submitted data with 76,987 participants reporting 2,673 species of birds from Canada to Latin America.
Data collected over the past 119 years helps scientists study the health and status of bird populations. Along with other surveys, the results present a picture of how bird populations have changed in time and space for over 100 years.