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Central Floridians Turn Out For Christmas Bird Count

John Thomton and other Audubon volunteers count birds along Johns Lake. Photo by Amy Green

Audubon’s 116th Christmas Bird Count ends Tuesday.

Hundreds of central Floridians joined the wildlife census that has drawn bird lovers from across the nation for more than a century.

The data they collect indicates how bird populations are doing. Researchers and wildlife agencies use the data to develop conservation strategies and identify environmental problems.

John Thomton led two groups of bird counters in central Florida. He says development is disrupting habitats, and this winter’s warm weather has affected duck populations.

“You think, Oh no what’s happening to all our ducks? But you have to remember that it’s been really warm up north this year, and there hasn’t been as much icing of lakes and ponds up north. And so birds didn’t have to come as far south at least so far this winter.”

The annual count began in 1900 and is a holiday tradition for many birders.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »