The Christmas Bird Count is underway, that annual bird census that lures experienced birders and newcomers afield across the United States, Canada and parts of Latin America.

The count, which began on Christmas Day in 1900, is the longest-running bird count in the world. Minnesota’s participation started in 1905, according to The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union. Minneapolis and Red Wing were the first locations. The count in Minnesota involves as many as 70 census circles. Two counts were scheduled for Thursday (Glacial Ridge and Lac qui Parle), and two more (Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge and Cottonwood) are scheduled Friday.

The Christmas Bird Count happens in earnest beginning Saturday across Minnesota (go to moumn.org/CBC for locations and past count data), and goes on in various locations until Jan. 5.

People interested in participating can choose a count to join by location, too, or by date. Each of the counts has a coordinator, whose contact information is listed.

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