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Roughly 50 counts will be conducted in Oregon and Southwest Washington during the three weeks surrounding the holidays.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN SCHRAG - Eric Streeter of South Bend, Indiana, stopped by Fernhill Wetlands during a visit with family members who live  south of Forest Grove.Mother Nature gave the Audubon Society of Portland a belated Christmas present this year, offering sunny skies for the annual Portland Christmas Bird Count.

According to the nonprofit's website, the bird count is the longest running community science project in North America, helping track changes in bird populations since it was started in 1900, as an alternative to traditional holiday hunting expeditions.

The idea has spread from New York to become a continental effort, with birders across North America participating in one-day counts between Dec. 15 and Jan. 6. The Audubon Society of Portland says it conducted its first Christmas Bird Count in 1926. It claims that its 221 field observers and 128 feeder watchers found 118 species, last year, and its 349 participants made the Portland count the second largest in the nation.

In addition to the Portland count, roughly 50 other counts will be conducted in Oregon and Southwest Washington during the three weeks surrounding the holidays.

A list of counts in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington can be found here. For more information, check the Audubon's website, audubonportland.org/local-birding/cbc.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN SCHRAG - Fernhill Wetlands is a popular destination for birders who come to see rare migratory birds. The 700-acre property on the edge of Forest Grove, is owned by Clean Water Services and managed in partnership with the city and Fernhill Wetlands Council.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN SCHRAG - Bird watchers flocked to Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove on Saturday, Dec. 30.

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