Now through January 5th, you can participate in a Minnesotan tradition more than a hundred years old--the annual Christmas Bird Count. All over America, Audubon chapters
coordinate efforts to have "citizen scientists" observe and report on their local birds. The information becomes part of the CBC database, a century-spanning picture of early-winter bird life in America.
If St. Paul is where you bill and coo, check out the website of the St. Paul Audubon Society
. Their Saturday December 17th event
, which costs $5 and calls for birders of all skill level and style, assigns birders to teams in different areas of the city. If you're looking for a lessor level of commitment but would still like to participate, they also need volunteers to watch the bird feeders within 7.5 miles of the intersection of County Road B and Dale Street.
If you'd rather roost in Minneapolis, head up to Fridley for the count headquarters at the Springbrook Nature Center
. Participants will count species within a 7.5 miles radius of a circle centered on the Coon Rapids Dam. The count spans from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, with a noon hour potluck.
On the same day, you can help add Fort Snelling State Park
's birds to the count, from 9 am to 11:30 am. For more information, call (612) 725-2389 or the Fort Snelling State Park Visitor Center at (612) 725-2724.
And if you live south of the metro, visit the website of the Minnesota River Valley Audubon Chapter
. They have the latest news
on counts in Bloomington, Excelsior, Carver Park, and the Cedar Creek Bog, with events on both Saturday and Sunday December 18th.
Contact information for bird count events around the state can be found on the calendar at the website of the Minnesota Ornithologists' Union