The national count of birds that builds our data for the year on both migratory and non-migratory species of the flyers has started. Would you like to be part of it? The event that is now in its 116th year takes place at field locations in your local area and at your bird feeder. Numbers will be gathered for North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. It takes place in December and early January in all cities and many municipal areas, according to a release.

The longest-running citizen-science survey of any kind, this count was initially proposed on Christmas Day in 1900 by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman. Data collected over more than a century adds up to vital information for researchers, conservation biologists and interested individuals looking at bird populations' long-term health and status, the release noted.

To learn when the official count in your area is, check the website of your local branch of the Audubon Society. In New York City, one official count takes place on Sunday, Dec. 20, at Central Park. The Atlanta area has at least four counts, on Dec. 14 and 19, and Jan. 2 and 3. So there are many options.

In fact, you have two choices: Counting birds at your backyard feeder, or heading to the field to participate in an all-day count. 

In the former case, you'll record the largest amount of every species that you see in your day at any one time. While it's fine to count several times, you'll want to record only one maximum amount. Here's information on counting birds at home, according to the Audubon Society. 

In case you're wondering, you won't need to be an expert birder in order to participate in the field counts. You can be an extra set of eyes, drive and help to gather the list.

Here's info on last year's count numbers

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