A bird count at Rondeau Provincial Park Sunday is one of more than 120 registered counts in Ontario this year.
Following a century-long tradition, some 60,000 birders will venture out across North America in the coming weeks to participate in the single longest-running and most popular wildlife census in North America.
Not only a great opportunity to get outside with friends, the volunteer initiative between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 gathers indispensable data revealing trends in bird populations.
Keith Burke is heading up Sunday's count at Rondeau.
Christmas bird counts have always been open to birders of all levels and starting this year there is no fee to participate.
The data collected allow researchers and conservation organizations to study the health of birds across North America.
Armed with this information, groups like Ontario Nature can set priorities for bird conservation.
Counts in the 1980s revealed a drastic decline in the number of American black ducks, triggering much-needed conservation initiatives.
"With the Christmas bird counts citizens scientists are effectively tracking bird populations and ranges,'' said John Urquhart, conservation science manager for Ontario Nature.
He said it's a cost-effective way for conservation organizations to identify trends so that conservation work can take place where it is needed.
A new record as set for red-breasted mergansers at 94,730 last year up from 30,420 at the 107th count.
Last year there were 114 counts in Ontario with 2,622 observers.
Nature London has been holding a count for the past 102 years.