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Bird Watchers Ready for Christmas Count

Bird watchers are preparing for one of the biggest events of the year. The annual Christmas Bird Count, organized by the Audubon Society, begins Monday.
The count is organized throughout the western hemisphere, including nine locations in and around the Quad Cities.

Kelly McKay has been leading bird counts in the area since the early 1980's. He says because of climate change, bird species that used to be rare here in the winter are becoming much more common.
But there probably won't be a lot of bald eagles this year due to a mild start to this winter. Since lakes and rivers aren't frozen yet, they haven't had a reason to migrate.

Anyone can participate in the Christmas Bird Count either from their homes or in the field with a survey team. The total number of birds are counted for each species, and since they don't move as much in the winter, it's easier to spot them.

McKay says the bird count allows scientists to see how climate change directly impacts a large majority of bird populations across the western hemisphere. 

Biologists refer to only long term Christmas count

The local Christmas Bird Count begins in Princeton, Iowa on Monday (12/14) and will end January 2nd in Andalusia and Buffalo. The Quad Cities count will be held on December 20th in Davenport.

To volunteer at home or in the field, you can call Kelly McKay at (309) 235-4661. More information can be found on the Quad City Audubon Society's webpage.