By Sandy Reed, CBC Volunteer
Thank you to the 87 bird enthusiasts who participated in the CBCs in Hillsborough County in December. Nationally, this is the 124th CBC, the longest-running community science bird project in the nation.
In 1900, Frank Chapman proposed a Christmas Bird Census as opposed to the former side hunt tradition, which involved shooting every bird they saw. The process of counting the same 15-mile diameter circle year after year provides a picture of changing bird populations and helps to protect birds, their habitats and gives insight into environmental issues.
The long-term perspective is vital for conservationists. Counts can be conducted on any day between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. There are over 996 individual count circles in the United States and now occur internationally.
The 27th running of the Alafia Banks count, on Dec 14, proved to be particularly challenging due to exceptionally inclement weather. Yet 45 intrepid birders braved high wind, driving rain and coastal flooding, led by Charlie Fisher, to detect 125 species, the lowest count they have ever had. Three Summer Tanagers were a highlight, as new birds for the Alafia count.
Charlie says, “Wait until next year!”
This was the 53rd year for the Tampa count on Dec. 30, headed by Dave Bowman. The weather was excellent, cool and clear. Approximately 42 participants, including eBirders and feeder watchers, counted 129 species, a bit below the 10-year average.
The total results are still being compiled for the state and the nation. Follow the results here and how you can get involved in the future!