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Local birders participate in Christmas bird count - KOAM TV 7

Local birders participate in Christmas bird count

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Local birders participate in the nation's longest running and largest citizen's science project in the world. The annual Christmas bird count happens nationwide in December. The count started over 100 years ago and helps to give scientists a handle on the distribution of different species during the winter months and determine if any are in need of help.

Today, 25 Joplin area professional and amateur bird watchers head out to count the different species of birds they see in the area.

“They basically keep a list of every species seen and how many individuals of that species and then we get all that data compiled together and that's what scientists use to determine trends in birds,” says Chris Pistole with the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center.

The counts often depend on weather and this year’s warmer temperatures could lead to different results.

“When the weather outside is really bad for people, cold,  snowy, and we don't really like getting out, that's actually when we get some of the best counts of the birds because they do tend to become more concentrated, they're more active because they're having to get out there and really look hard for more food,” says Pistole.

Pistole also says different species will likely be seen.

“We haven't really seen a lot of harsh winter weather. When that happens that's when we usually see influxes of some of the northern birds that maybe are driven further south at that time, certain types of finches for example,” he says.

The Audubon Center will be hosting a kids Christmas bird count on January 2nd.  There will be contests and games to get children interested in the hobby.

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