Bird-lovers join in midstate count

Bird-lovers in Middle Georgia made their way outdoors Saturday for the annual Christmas Bird Count, a nation wide “citizen-science” effort sponsored by the National Audubon Society. In Macon, some 30 people took part this year in the more than 100-year-old tradition that seeks to annually catalog the number of birds and bird species in a given area, said Marie Amerson, with the Ocmulgee Audubon Society. This year set a local record for participation in the event, Amerson said, even though they did not find quite as many birds as in previous years.

“We probably had more birders and fewer birds this year,” she said, attributing the fewer sightings to warmer weather that made the birds less active Saturday. Once final tallies are made, they will be stored with the Audubon Society along with data from past years. The numbers are available to anyone interested in bird population trends, she said. Her team, one of six, found 55 species this year. The hope is to identify more than 100 once all the teams’ numbers are added together. In 2000, the group counted a record of 114 species, she said.