State Forest State Park will host Jackson County’s annual Christmas Bird Count, the Audubon Society’s longest running tradition, on Friday, Dec. 14 at the Moose Visitor Center starting at 8 a.m. A light breakfast and warm lunch will be served.

Birders and nature enthusiasts across the western hemisphere participate in the count which started more than a century ago. The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is vital in monitoring the status of resident and migratory birds across the western hemisphere. The information, all generated by volunteers, has become a crucial part of the federal government’s database for natural history monitoring.

The CBC began over a century ago, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, and changed the course of ornithological history. On Christmas Day in 1900, Chapman and 27 conservationists in 25 towns, created the count as an alternative to the “side hunt,” which was a Christmas day activity where teams of hunters competed to shoot the most birds and small mammals. Chapman proposed that the teams instead identify, count and record all the birds they saw and founded what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort.

The event is open to the public, including science students and youngsters. The group will gather at the State Forest State Park Moose Visitor Center, 56750 Highway 14, about one mile east of Gould.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to cpw.state.co.us.

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