The Chickasaw National Recreation Area will sponsor a 2012 Christmas Bird Count Dec. 15.
Dan Winings, CNRA Ranger, said the event is open to both the seasoned and novice birder, which is designed to identify birds in the CNRA.
"Chickasaw National Recreation Area has a great diversity of habitats for birds including fields, forest, streams and lakes. This makes the park a very exciting and rich area for birding. Well over 100 bird species have been identified in the park," Winings said.
While the Christmas Bird Count is an all-day event, Winings said participants can spend as little as an hour in the counting pursuit.
"Come to the Travertine Nature Center any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to get a map and an area to search. Spend an hour or all day. Novice birders will have the opportunity to join up with more experienced birders to learn as you go," he said.
There is no charge to participate and binoculars and field guides are available to borrow.
And participants will be rewarded for their efforts.
"All participants will receive a compilation of the Christmas Bird Counts done all over the nation," Winings said.
The Christmas Bird Count is an Audubon Society project and is the longest running citizen science project in the country.
"For 113 years, birders around the country have gone into the field around Christmas to count and identify birds. All the information collected is compiled and used by scientists studying bird populations. This is a great opportunity to use your hobby and skills to help real scientists collect data," Winings said.