Concerned that Americans were overharvesting birds, New York ornithologist Frank Chapman started the Christmas Bird Count in 1900 as an alternative to a Christmas tradition of hunting birds. This year marks the 120th count, and its Audubon organizers say it’s more important than ever.
The first Christmas Bird Count was done by just 27 people at 25 locations across North America, mostly in the Northeast. Last year’s count involved over 79,000 observers in 2,615 areas in the hemisphere, most in the United States and Canada, with an increasing number in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Associated Press.
This year’s bird count continues through Jan. 5. To participate, go to ChristmasBirdCount.org.
Read more from the Associated Press here.