AP NEWS

Christmas bird count Saturday at Clifty Falls

December 28, 2016 GMT

Clifty Falls State Park will again host an Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Saturday. Those interested in participating should meet at 8 a.m. in the Clifty Inn lounge. There is no fee for the count or for park admission. This season marks the Audubon’s 117th Christmas Bird Count. All counts are conducted between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year. The count acts as a census for early winter birds. The Audubon Society began with the founding of the Massachusetts chapter in 1896 by Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall with a mission to protect waterbird populations. In 1900, Audubon member Frank Chapman launched the first Christmas Bird Count as an alternative to traditional Christmas “side hunt,” in which hunters competed to kill as many birds and mammals as possible. For this Hanover-Madison count, a fifteen-mile diameter count area is centered at the junction of Grange Hall Road and State Road 256. Each count has its own area like this where counters must register to have their information included by a compiler. Volunteers will have a number of options of where and how long to count. Attendees should bring binoculars, field guides and dress properly for the weather. “For outdoor enthusiasts the annual Christmas Bird Count is a terrific time to enjoy birds whether by oneself, with family, or with long time friends or new birding acquaintances made during the count,” Clifty naturalist Brad Kessans said in a release. “Just as importantly, it’s an opportunity to make a difference by contributing to our understanding of the scope and distribution of early winter bird populations.” To learn more about the event, or to register beforehand, contact local compiler Dick Davis at (812) 273-2656 or rodavis53@msn.com. For more information on counts and Audubon, visit www.audubon.org.