Archive for December 24th, 2007

Christmas Bird Count: The History

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

“Side hunts” were a popular Christmas tradition in the 1800’s; outdoor enthusiasts picked sides and whoever shot the most animals by the end of the day won. In 1900, a man named Frank Chapman proposed people should count birds, not hunt them…and the Christmas Bird Count was born.

The Christmas Bird Count is an event that goes on across the entire country. It’s coordinated nationwide by the National Audubon Society.

Joshua Rose is a Natural Resource Specialist at the World Birding Center at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park.

The fact is that birding has become not just a pleasant leisure activity, to go out and wander around seeing birds but has become something of a competitive sport.

Over fifty-thousand birders took part in last years count.

The real mission is conservation. We want to know how many birds of each species there are out there to know if one certain kind of bird needs some more focused conversation action. Or maybe some bird that was rare, for instance the bald eagle or the peregrine falcon, is getting more common and whatever we’re doing for them in terms of conservation seems to be working.

More on the Christmas Bird Count at the World Birding Center tomorrow. For more information visit

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Kate Lipinski… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.