This Sunday (Dec. 20), the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission will participate in the 110th annual Christmas Bird Count, and you can help — without leaving home.
This nationwide bird census invites people with backyard feeders to tally the birds they see and submit the results as well.
All you have to do to participate in the local count is to register with me, pay a $5 fee (which goes to the National Audubon Society to help defray the CBC's administrative and tabulation costs), and then keep watch of the birds visiting your feeder on Sunday.
Click "Continue reading …" to see how Meadowlands residents can count birds at their feeders on Sunday.
I will report on the results from Sunday’s count in a future column, and I also plan to post all the feeder-watcher results on meadowblog.net, the NJMC’s nature blog.
Keeping a feeder count is easy, according to ace bird-watcher Mike Britt, who coordinates the count for the Meadowlands area: “People just need to keep track of the amount of time they spend watching the feeders on Sunday, as well as count each species and the number of individual birds of each species that they see."
Feeder watchers fill a valuable niche. Although birders staking out fields and fens can see all kinds of waterfowl and raptors, they can’t keep up with all the backyard birds.
Nationwide, the count runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5, with various regions counting on any chosen day within that timeframe. The Meadowlands is part of Sunday’s Lower Hudson Count, which covers a circular area 15 miles in diameter.
This circle includes Lyndhurst, North Arlington, East Rutherford, Secaucus, North Bergen, Kearny, Jersey City (north of Linden Ave.), Hoboken, Union City, West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg.
If you live in one of the above towns and would like to participate in the Lower Hudson Count on Sunday as a feeder watcher, please e-mail jim wright here.