Annual Christmas Bird Count at Great Sand Dunes to be held on December 23rd


Great Sand Dunes invites birders and nature enthusiasts in the San Luis Valley to participate in the annual Audobon Society Christmas Bird Count (CBC) to be held at various locations within Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on Thursday, December 23 at 8a.m. Great Sand Dunes is one of many locations that is listed as a site for birders to join in Audubon’s longest-running wintertime tradition.

Birders of all skill levels are invited and encouraged to participate. To participate in the bird count at Great Sand Dunes, participants must be signed up as volunteers. Prior to the event, interested individuals should contact the visitor center at 719-378-6395 between 9a.m. and 4:30p.m. to register. Participants who are registered to volunteer will receive an entrance fee waiver for the day of the bird count. Volunteers must arrive at the visitor center by 7:45a.m. on December 23rd to complete volunteer paperwork, review safety guidelines and receive map of assigned area and instructions for returning count results. All volunteers must wear a mask in federal buildings. Participants should bring a pair of binoculars and come prepared to hike in winter conditions.

For more information on the bird count, please direct inquiries, and questions to Dewane Mosher, [email protected] To register for the Christmas Bird Count, contact the visitor center at 719-378-6395 between 9a.m. and 4:30p.m. seven days a week. A ranger will confirm your registration and provide directions for where to meet to sign volunteer paperwork on December 23rd.

The longest running citizen science survey in the world, Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count takes place nationwide in late December each year. Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout North America brave winter weather to add a new layer to over a century of data. 

The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities changed the course of ornithological history. On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals. Instead, it was proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort – and a more than century-old institution.  The CBC is vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the Western Hemisphere, and the data, which are 100% volunteer generated, have become a crucial part of the U.S. Government’s natural history monitoring database.

Please go to the Audubon website for additional information, news, and history on the Christmas Bird Count:  https://audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.

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