Seattle Audubon Christmas Bird Count is Dec. 31, and there are two ways to participate.

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Seattle Audubon’ invites anyone interested in birds to join in the Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 31. It’s part of the National Audubon Society’s annual project to track the state of North American birds. Seattle’s first count was in 1908 with one participant recording nine bird species; more than 120 species are now regularly tallied at the daylong event. This year’s count covers a 15-mile-diameter circle centered on downtown Seattle, divided into 14 smaller areas including Mercer Island and part of Bellevue.

There are two ways to participate in the Christmas Bird Count. Field volunteers gather in groups from dawn to dusk, with some teams listening for owls in the pre-dawn darkness; they’re open to birders of all levels, including newcomers (though the event isn’t suitable for young children). All volunteers are assigned to teams in their area, led by knowledgeable, experienced birders. Registration for the field component closes Sunday, Dec. 18. The program is free, though it’s traditional for participants to donate $5 to Seattle Audubon. Binoculars aren’t provided, so bring your own. Field volunteers are invited to gather for a potluck to compile the official species list for the day from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 31 at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, Seattle.

Another way to participate is through the Feeder Watch program, which involves observing birds in your yard for an hour on Dec. 31, if you live within the parameters of the Seattle count. Registration is open until Dec. 30. Instructions, tips and a datasheet to record your observations are available online.

For information and registration, see