Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

FOR THE BIRDS.(New Mexico)

Byline: Tania Soussan Journal Staff Writer

Going out on surveys during the holidays is a tradition for watchers throughout the world

SEVILLETA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE The northern harrier flies low over the grassland, his wings stretched wide under the cold December morning sky.

In his flight, he draws the attention of a small group of avid bird-watchers on a nearby bluff and becomes one of the first of millions of birds to be tallied in the international Christmas Bird Count.

Across the United States and Canada and in parts of Central and South America, thousands of volunteers fan out between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 each year to count all the birds they spot on a single day.

The Christmastime tradition for many birders also has become the world's largest all-volunteer bird survey. And it makes possible the longest-running database in ornithology. …

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