Nothing says Christmas like counting birds. You know – four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a trip to the swamp with binoculars.
The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which allows volunteers to participate in important scientific study, will be staged throughout the Western Hemisphere over the next month. Sunday is the opening day, and many site captains plan to go out then.
The data gathered on the number and species of birds spotted on the organized outings helps track the health and movement of bird populations. It helps if you know your birds, but even novices can participate by teaming with veteran birders.
There are at least 27 group counts planned in South Carolina. In some of the individual count areas, you can either join the group in the field or just watch a feeder at your home and compile data. If you want to join a group, it’s best to let the organizers know so they have an estimate on how many might show up.
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Some of the sites in South Carolina include:
McBee: Meet Sunday at 6:15 a.m. at the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge office on U.S. 1, contact Nancy Jordan at (843) 335-6026
Congaree National Park: Meet Sunday at 7 a.m. at the park visitors center off Old Bluff Road in southeastern Richland County, contact John Grego at email@example.com
Four Holes Swamp: Meet Monday at 8 a.m., Francis Beidler Forest, 336 Sanctuary Road, Harleyville, contact Matthew Johnson at (843) 462-2150.
For a full list of sites and contact information, go to http://birds.audubon.org/get-involved-christmas-bird-count-find-count-near-you.