So, out of respect and admiration for these feathered friends and an interest in contributing to their protection, every year, around Christmas, birders worldwide (but mostly in the United States and Canada) gather locally to count birds. The Christmas Bird Count, organized by the National Audubon Society, happens from mid-December through January, and it’s known as possibly the longest-running citizen science activity in the nation. This year marks the 123rd year of the event.
The Lake Apopka North Shore is one of several St. Johns River Water Management District public lands inventoried during the Christmas Bird Count. Centrally located in the state and expansive, Lake Apopka offers wintering grounds for some species, a place to stopover for migratory species, and a permanent year-round home for other species. The bottom line, Lake Apopka is a hotspot for birding.
On a recent gray Thursday in December with a thunderstorm approaching, volunteers and District staff worked alongside each other, peering through binoculars and spotting scopes, counting as they traded notes on the differences between the black-bellied whistling ducks and the fulvous ducks, pointing out osprey and bald eagles.