The Christmas Bird Count was started in December, 1900 when Frank Chapman implored readers of the journal Bird-Love to count birds during the holidays, rather than shoot them, as had been the tradition. 27 people turned out for Chapman's first count.
Over 100 years later, more than 50,000 participants take part each year in over 2000 counts held in North America and around the world. The Christmas Bird Count is now the largest bird survey ever conducted and the ultimate source of data about winter birds.
Here locally, the Christmas Bird Count in Joshua Tree National Park will be conducted on January 1, 2008. Interested birdwatchers are invited to participate. For info call 760-367-5520.
An interesting note: signs along a hiking trail in Black Rock Canyon, part of Joshua Tree National Park, claim that there are more species of birds in the area than in a tropical rain forest. And they call this the desert!
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