ZIMMERMAN -- Attention bird lovers! It's almost time for the annual Christmas Bird Count.

The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is hosting its annual count on Thursday.

In the meantime, you're asked to clean and fill your bird feeders at least three days in advance to encourage birds to frequent the feeders.

The Christmas Bird Count began on Christmas Day in 1900. According to the Audubon Society, prior to that year, hunters would hold an annual "Side Hunt". They would choose sides before going out with their guns on Christmas Day. Whichever team returned with the most feathers and furs won the challenge.

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Starting in 1900, an ornithologist suggested a new tradition, a Christmas bird census. The data that the count collects allows Audubon researchers, conservation biologists and wildlife agencies to study the long-term health and status of bird populations.

Courtney Celley - USFWS
Courtney Celley - USFWS

The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge Christmas Bird Count is part of a larger statewide and nationwide bird census.


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