Each year the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania conducts the annual Christmas Bird Count. Pittsburgh's will be held on Saturday, January 1. But they break up the region in geographic circles. The Pittsburgh count covers the city and much of the North Hills of Allegheny County. Separate counts are held on other days in surrounding communities. Nancy Page, compiler for the Pittsburgh-South Hills area, urges volunteers to participate. She says the
purpose of the bird count is to gather information for local, national, and international weather, migration, and population patterns.
Not only are the number of birds counted, but also species. Page says, "We count anything within the 24 hour period. Night birds, owls, day birds, ducks, water fowl, anything that flies, we count."
Certain conditions alter results. Page notes that stormy weather may give misleading results. Overall weather changes are also a concern. Page says that ducks would usually migrate south, but now they are noticing that they are staying for the winter.
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania has helpful tips on their website, www.aswp.org. It lists bird count results dating back to 1959.