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December 27, 2012

Christmas Bird Count is set for Dec. 29

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It’s time for flocks of a feather to come together for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The London count is now in its fifth official year and will be held on Saturday, Dec. 29. It will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Laurel County Public Library and will continue until 5:30 p.m. with the final tally being taken in the dining room at Frisch's Big Boy.

The 113th Christmas Bird Count began on Dec. 14. From December 14 through January 5, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout America will take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations.   

The first bird count was held on Christmas Day in 1900.

Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a Christmas “Side Hunt” where they would go into the fields with their guns and whoever brought back the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.  In the late 1800s, New York City was the center of a “Fashion Feud.”  Women's hats were adorned with feathers-plumes that had been plucked from herons, cuckoos, egrets, and even owls. Fortunately not everyone approved of this craze.

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed a new holiday, “The Christmas Bird Census.”  A trial was organized in 1899 and two counts were held on December 25, 1900. The first official Christmas Bird Count was joined by 27 dedicated birders, who held 25 separate bird counts that day, from Ontario, Toronto, to California. The first count tallied 89 species in all combined.

“The count is such a good source of information regarding birds in their natural habitats,” said coordinator Wendi Allen. “The results of these counts are used by the Audubon Society to collect data with regard to changing territories, changes in population, as well as a migratory status for birds.”    

Visit www.christmasbirdcount.org for further details.

 “If you'd love to become a part of the annual tradition, please give us a call,” Allen said.  “We will gladly arrange for you to be part of this year's London count.”

Call (606) 330-0606 for more information about the London count or visit wallen@burkmann.com.    

Allen said alternative pick up times can be arranged if someone wants to schedule for a portion of the day. Scheduling must be made by today, Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m.  

cmills@sentinel-echo.com

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