They would choose sides and go afield with their guns-whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered and furred quarry won.
Fox said most of the birders will have finished by dusk.
Volunteers for the Carlos count should sign up by Thursday, Dec. 28, and meet at the Visitor Center in Lake Carlos State Park between 7:30 and 8 a.m. But as the bird population shrank and people became more environmentally aware, they began to count the birds instead of kill them.
"That's the great thing about the Christmas Bird Count, each team has at least one leader, usually more, that really know their bird identification and know how to do the methods of the survey", Farr says.
Small groups of volunteers venture forth to conduct a scientific, early winter census within 15-mile diameter circles, and complete the task within a 24-hour period on one calendar day between December 14 and January 5. But ornithologists like Piper appreciate observations of common birds because those counts can reflect environmental impacts on breeding, migration and population trends. The data they collect will record every individual bird and bird species seen within a specified area. Count circles, each 15 miles wide, can now be found from Barrow Alaska to the Brazilian Amazon.
To get involved, visit http://moumn.org/CBC/locations_map to view a map of all active search circles in Minnesota. The results will be submitted to the National Audubon Society, the nonprofit environmental organization in charge of the count.
Another avid birder, Matthew Mecklenburg, a land steward with the Nature Conservancy in Glyndon, wanted to grow the birding options in the Pelican Rapids area, so he helped start a new count circle there this year.
"They are going to see a lot of birds that stay here all year round - cardinals, nuthatches, finches, titmice, woodpeckers", she said. Nevertheless, I should mention that you can also participate in your local Christmas Bird Count as a feeder watcher - check the Cape Cod Bird Club website for count information. Irruptions occur when temperature changes send Arctic owls southward.