Local Annual Audubon Cullman Christmas Bird Count set for Dec. 16 | The Cullman Tribune

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Annual Audubon Cullman Christmas Bird Count set for Dec. 16

Photo courtesy of www.AlabamaBirdingTrails.com

At a glance:

--National Audubon Society Annual Cullman Christmas Bird Count
--Sunday, Dec. 16, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
--Meet at Culpepper Real Estate, 601 Seventh Ave. SW at 6:30 a.m. and noon
--Finish at Karma’s Coffee House, 103 First Ave. NE at 5 p.m.
--Bring binoculars, spotting scope and camera if available, lunch if desired
--For more information or to sign up, contact event coordinator Vince Meleski at 256-739-4589, or email vmeleski@charter.net.

The National Audubon Society invites birdwatchers and nature lovers to participate in the longest-running citizen science survey, the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 The Cullman Christmas Bird Count will take place in a 15-mile radius centered at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. Highway 278. Volunteers will break up into small groups and cover parts of the circle, recording the birds seen or heard.

Each year, the Audubon CBC mobilizes more than 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The CBC utilizes the power of volunteers to  track the health of bird populations  at a scale scientists could never accomplish  alone. Data compiled in Cullman will record every individual bird and bird species seen in the specified area  and then be submitted to the National Audubon Society, contributing to a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.

Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this nationwide citizen science project that provides scientists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations  during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders and record their sightings instead of following routes.

To sign up for the Cullman count, please contact Vince Meleski at vmeleski@charter.net or 256-739- 4589 if you are interested in participating.

The Audubon CBC began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore - which evolved into Audubon Magazine - suggested an alternative to the holiday "side hunt," in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. One-hundred-eighteen years of counting birds is a long time, but the program somehow brings out the best in people and contributes to our understanding of birds.

There is no fee to participate and a report will be available online to view all the count circle results. The count is open to birders of all skill levels.

The count will begin with a meeting at 6:30 a.m. at Culpepper Real Estate, located at 601 Seventh Ave. SW in Cullman and wrap up with a compilation at 5 p.m. at Karma's Coffee House at 103 First Ave. NE in Cullman. At noon the group will meet at Culpepper Real Estate to compare the morning's results and plan to look for any missing species. Volunteers are welcome to participate in the morning or afternoon session if they do not want to participate all day.