Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Eurasian wigeon!

Back when William McKinley was president, a first-class postage stamp was $.02 and the champions of college football were the Yale Bulldogs, Frank Chapman thought it might be nice to go out on Christmas Day and look for birds. This was a common occurrence of the day, though the “looking” also involved shooting. Chapman’s idea was to take the gun out of the equation.

A lot of folks liked Chapman’s idea, and thus was born the Christmas Bird Count, an event that, 111 years later, spans the Western Hemisphere, includes tens of thousands of participants and helps identify potentially harmful developments in the bird world.

Here’s how it works: Each count is assigned an area 15 miles in diameter. Volunteers spend the day canvassing this area counting as many different birds as they can find. The results are then shipped to the National Audubon for analysis. You needn’t be an accomplished birder to participate; In fact, one of the great things about the count is that it often gives amateurs an opportunity to hang with and learn from accomplished birders. Not to mention the chance to lurk about the woods all day in search of nature.

The count occurs over a three-week period, this year between this past Tuesday and January 5. But the bulk of the counts, at least in North Carolina, are this weekend. Of the 47 counts planned in North Carolina this CBC season, 16 are this Friday, Saturday or Sunday, according to the Carolina Bird Club. A list of this weekend’s counts follows, broken down by geographic region. For the full list of counts in North Carolina (and South), visit the Carolina Bird Club Web site.

For more about the count, visit the National Audubon CBC site here.

Coast

Saturday

  • Kitty Hawk: Jeff Lewis, 252-216-6336

Sunday

  • Morehead City: John Fussell, 252-240-1046

Piedmont

Friday

  • Rocky Mount: Brian Bockhahn, 919-676-1027

Saturday

  • Gastonia: Steve Tracy, 704-853-0654
  • Greensboro: Elizabeth Link, 336-273-4672
  • Raleigh: John Connors, 919-733-7450 x602
  • Raven Rock State Park: Erik Thomas, 919-880-7809

Sunday

  • Durham: Jacob Socolar, 919.636.0326
  • Southern Lake Norman: Taylor Piephoff, 704-432-1391
  • Southern Pines: Susan Campbell, 910-949-3207

Mountains

Friday

  • Highlands Plateau: Brock Hutchins, 770-486-3715

Saturday

  • Buncombe County: Jamie Harrelson, 828-280-1659
  • New River: Katherine Higgins, 276-768-8619
  • Tryon: Jerry Johnson, icbirds@windstream.net

Sunday

  • Mount Rogers-White Top Mountain: Allen Boynton, 276-677-4121

* * *

Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

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