Updated 12/19/2010 04:12 PM
Dozens Flock To Central Park For Annual Bird Count
Nature lovers canvassed all 843 acres of Manhattan's Central Park Sunday for the 111th annual bird count. NY1's Tetiana Anderson filed the following report.
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Volunteers strapped with binoculars and clutching clip boards took to the paths of Central Park Sunday with a mission to count.
"Each team is looking at a different corner of the park to count all the birds we can see in that part of the park," said New York City Audubon Society Executive Director Glenn Phillips.
The annual bird count is now in its 111th year. It was started as a way to protest what used to be an annual Christmas bird hunt.
"People went out and shot as many birds as they could find. But that was the same time birds were becoming extinct," said Phillips.
Now, instead of killing the birds, enthusiasts carefully note the number and species of birds. The data is then used to study migratory trends.
"Scientists look at longterm trends so they're not just looking at data from today but they are gonna look at data from 10 years ago, from 40 years ago, from 100 years ago," Phillips said.
"Seeing a very bright red cardinal right in the center of this city was very exciting," said one bird enthusiast.
The number and species of birds were carefully noted to give researchers as much information as possible.
"Scientist look at long term trends so they're not just looking at data from today they are looking at data from 10 years ago, 40 years ago from 100 years ago," Phillips said.
While counting a moving target is not an exact science, there is a formula for getting it right. Enthusiasts say when notes are compared later, reports from the same time and place won't be counted twice.
"We actually record the time and the place that we saw it and if it's flying what direction it went at the time," said one bird enthusiast.
According to this year's tally, experts say 6,220 birds of 59 different species are making the trees of Central Park home.