Ossining nature center calling all birders for annual count

Eastern bluebirds seen on Teatown's 2011 Christmas Bird

Eastern bluebirds seen on Teatown's 2011 Christmas Bird County. (Dec. 10, 2012) (Credit: Handout)

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Teatown Lake Reservation is conducting its annual Christmas Bird Count on Saturday and invites novice and experienced birders to take part.

Counters should be at Teatown's Nature Center, 1600 Spring Valley Rd., Ossining, by 8 a.m. dressed for the weather.

"The Christmas Bird Count was started by the National Audubon Society over a hundred years ago and runs from mid-December until early January," said Phyllis Bock, director of education at the nature reserve. "Count circles pick their days. We are part of the Peekskill circle."

She added, "People can join the count at Teatown anytime before noon. We will make periodic returns to the Nature Center to pick up latecomers."

Charles Roberto, a self-taught naturalist who will lead a group of counters, explained the history.

"This is the 113th annual bird count," he said. "The first was started by Frank Chapman, who wanted to steer people away from the Christmas hunt. People would form teams and go out and shoot anything they saw, feathered or furred. The biggest pile won. It's become citizen science that's used to track changes in bird populations."

Participation in the daylong count is free with a $7 ticket to the 6 p.m. compilation dinner. To make a dinner reservation, call Teatown at 914-762-2912.

True enthusiasts wanting to accompany Roberto at 5 a.m. while he plays tapes to owls also should call Teatown.

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