Bird Count Information
The Kentucky Ornithological
Society's Midwinter Bird Count is an annual early-winter bird statewide
census. Those conducting these counts follow the same guidelines established
for Audubon's Christmas Bird
Counts (and the results of KOS Midwinter Bird Counts can be submitted
to the National Audubon Society). Birders count every individual bird and
bird species over one calendar day (from midnight to midnight). Each bird
count area is a circle 15 miles in diameter -- approximately 177 square
miles. Bird counters try to cover as much of the circle area as possible
in one day, counting each individual bird and species they see or hear
in their designated sector of the circle. Bird feeders within the circle
can also be monitored. Why is the Midwinter Count important? Birds are
indicators of the overall health of our environment. Bird count data over
time in any given area can provide valuable insights into the long-term
health of bird populations and the environment. Count data also reveal
interesting and scientifically useful information on the early-winter distribution
patterns of various bird species. And besides, it's fun!
Similar counts are held throughout
the western hemisphere. Over 49,000 people from all 50 states, every Canadian
province, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Pacific Islands
(all areas where the breeding birds of North America spend their winter)
participate in about 1800 counts.The Christmas Bird Count itself has evolved
into the largest and longest-running wildlife survey ever undertaken. Count
data are available through the Audubon
Guidelines for Midwinter (and
Christmas) Bird Counts include:
Everyone can participate in these
counts - either by joining others in an already established count or by
beginning your own! Information about some established counts can be found
on the KOS Meetings,
Field Trips, and Bird Counts page. If you'd like to participate in
a Midwinter Bird Count but don't know if there is one in your area or if
you know there is no count in your area & you would like to establish
one, please contact either Blaine
Ferrell or Gary Ritchison.
Those wanting to initiate a new count will be responsible for organizing
(e.g., determining the count area & count date, getting others to help,
and establishing & coordinating parties) and compiling the results
of the count. Midwinter bird count forms can be obtained from Blaine
Ferrell (Ogden College, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green,
KY 42101; Ph. 270-745-4448).
Counts must be conducted on a
single day between December 14 and January 5.
All counting must be done within
a 15-mile diameter circle.
The circle position remains fixed
in perpetuity unless KOS (or, for Christmas Bird Counts, the National Audubon
Society) grants permission to move it.
No new circles may overlap existing
Counting is to be conducted from
sunup to sundown, and nighttime owl counts are to be kept separate.
Participation and count results
are calculated by parties. A party is a group of any number of people who
work together as a team and are likely to see and count the same birds.
For official Christmas Bird Counts
(those submitted to the Bird
Source website), each participant is strongly encouraged to donate
$5 to Audubon for each count. The donations are used to pay the expense
of compiling the results, publishing them in American Birds, and CBC coordination.
If results are submitted only to KOS, no donation is required.
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Meetings, Field Trips, and Bird Counts page