- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Hundreds of New Mexico bird enthusiasts are expected to take part in the longest-running citizen science survey of birds.

The National Audubon Society launched Sunday the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count as species like the Black Rosy-Finch suffer under warming conditions in the state.

Black Rosy-Finches spend winters in the Sandia Crest area, and they are regularly monitored during the annual count.

“A changing climate will affect the birds we love to see in our urban and rural backyards, but we can all help protect these treasured resources by becoming engaged in citizen science and having conversations in our local communities about how we can limit our carbon footprint and create bird-friendly communities,” said Carol Beidleman, director of Bird Conservation at Audubon New Mexico.

Data compiled across New Mexico will record individual birds and bird species seen in specified areas.

Last year’s court in New Mexico tallied 224 species statewide and a new all-time high of 525,000 individual birds. Albuquerque had the most species with 120.

The biggest contributor to the individual bird totals was Bosque del Apache with 146,000.

“The most exciting part of participating in the (count) is knowing that our local data is contributing to understanding what is happening with bird populations and climate over an extended period of time,” said Wyatt Egelhoff, the leader of the Santa Fe count.

The count ends Jan. 5.

Nationally, an estimated 70,000 volunteers are expected to participate.

There is no fee to participate, and the quarterly report, American Birds, will be available online.

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