This holiday season get the family together for a socially distanced, outdoor gathering, and help the Audubon Society with its annual Christmas Bird Count.

For 121 years, the Audubon Society has been counting winter birds at Christmas Bird Counts across the country. This year the gatherings may be smaller, but everyone can still participate from their own backyard or outside with a local group.

Volunteers with the Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City will be counting in December and January. To find a bird count event in every state, visit Audubon Society for a list by city and state. There may be some COVID-19 restrictions on how group events are held, or potentially cancelled, based on local guidelines.

During the count, birders gather to count every bird they see within a 15-mile wide circle, and to note all the different species. The count helps compare the rise or decline of certain species over the years. The National Audubon Society website has a list and photographs of the 20 common North American birds with the greatest population declines since 1967.

This year, the Christmas Bird Count began December 14 and will end January 5, 2021. Here are the organizers for the Christmas Bird Counts in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Email organizers for potential event dates and locations.

Photo: Linda Williams