December 6, 2012

Volunteers welcome to join feathered-friend census effort


---- — PLATTSBURGH — This year’s 113th-annual Christmas Bird Count will take place in the Plattsburgh area on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Local birders and nature enthusiasts join citizen scientists across the Western Hemisphere for the Bird Count, which takes place throughout North America and beyond between Dec. 14 this year and Jan. 5, 2013. 

All count circles, covering a 15-mile radius, are registered and are the same each year — the Plattsburgh circle is centered at about Exit 36 of Interstate 87. 

Field participants, out from dawn to dusk, and feeder watchers, who watch as little or as much as they can, try to count all the birds within the circle on the given day.


The Bird Count began in 1900, when scientist Frank Chapman proposed a change to the traditional “side hunt,” when teams competed to see who could shoot the most game. 

Instead, he charged a small group with identifying, counting and recording all the birds they saw; his effort grew into the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort.

Until this year, all the field participants donated $5 to help defray expenses of consolidating the data. 

There is no fee this year, but Cornell University and National Audubon Society welcome donations to help with expenses for the count.

Other counts in the North Country area are in Elizabethtown on Saturday, Dec. 22; Saranac Lake, Sunday, Dec. 30; and Ferrisburg, Vt., (included in the New York circle) on Saturday, Dec. 15. 

To become a feeder watcher, contact Judy Heintz at 563-5273 or

Learn more about the bird and other counts at