Annual bird count set Dec. 14-Jan. 5

The longest running citizen science survey in the world — Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count — will take place from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5.

From Alaska to Antarctica, tens of thousands of volunteers will add a new layer to more than a century of bird population information.

Scientists rely on this trend data to better understand how birds are faring and what needs to be done to protect them and the environment. The Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when the founder of Bird-Lore (the progenitor of Audubon magazine), Frank Chapman, suggested an alternative to the "side hunt," in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most game, including birds.

"Everyone who takes part in the Christmas Birds Count plays a critical role in helping us focus attention and conservation where it is most needed," said Audubon chief scientist Tom Bancroft. "In addition to Audubon's reports on the impacts of climate change on birds and our analysis of common birds in decline, it is the foundation for Audubon's WatchList, which identified species in need of conservation help."

For more information, go to www.audubon.org/states/centers_sanctuaries.php.

Clinic collecting gift items for children

Clinica Hispana is collecting new toys and clothing for children in need.

The clinic's 2009 toy drive will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at Carriage Square, 4122 S. 1785 West.

Items can also be dropped off at Clinica Hispana, 9355 S. 1300 East, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.