At Christmas, birders go afield for the annual census.
Around Christmas, it's time to count birds.
You won't see three French hens, two turtledoves or a partridge in a pear tree, but chances are good for swans a-swimming, geese (though not a-laying) and many more than four calling birds.
And when the annual Christmas Bird Count approaches, the National Audubon Society and local bird clubs look for help.
Between mid-December and early January, birders spend a day in the field at thousands of locations across the Americas, compiling numbers that will be used to monitor the status of bird populations and identify potential threats.
For beginners, it's a good way to contribute and also learn from more experienced birders.
Choose a day to join counting expeditions before they fill.
In Wisconsin, the Society for Ornithology lists Christmas bird counts in Wisconsin and the people to contact about joining them.
There are also many counting groups going out in Illinois.Last updated on January 21, 2012