Christmas Bird Count for Kids
Binocular Boot Camp at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
More kids are joining the Christmas Bird Count, a wildlife survey and citizen-science project that takes place worldwide in January. The Christmas/Winter Bird Count for Kids, aimed at youngsters age eight to 18, is offered on more and more National Wildlife Refuges.
At Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT, 10 kids and their parents participated in the refuge's first Christmas Bird Count in 2011, counting more than 260 birds of 26 different species. Participants began by learning birding basics in a Binocular Boot Camp. They moved on to spot an adult bald eagle, Northern harriers, rough-legged hawks, horned larks and snow buntings.
In North Dakota, the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Complex has been conducting the Christmas Bird Count with Kensal Public School students since 2000. The effort began as a project with the fifth and sixth grade class and soon included the high school science class.
Refuges share data they collect with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Bird data help scientists track population dynamics and examine the effects of climate change.
Learn more about the original Christmas Bird Count here.