Some Iowans will take place in the annual Christmas bird count today at the Neil Smith Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City. Jeff Kreuger, who helps oversee the effort which will start around eight o’clock this morning, says people who are not as familiar with birds will be paired with people who are, and then they’ll head out to count birds. Kreuger says the bird count is a sort of wildlife inventory. They want to get a rough estimate of the populations and species of birds that visit and live in the refuge. He says the number and type of birds is a good indicator of the quality of the habitat. Kreuger says the Christmas birdcount was started nationally 104 years ago, but back then there were only 25 to 27 people involved in the bird count, while this year there will be several thousand around the U-S and central and South America. The information from the count is sent to the National Audubon Society. He says they will put out a report that gives a good estimate of the bird species and count across the country. The state Audubon Society will put out a report as well.
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