The Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge is looking for volunteers to help in the annual Christmas Bird Count.

Volunteer birders of all skill levels are needed to count birds. Jefferson County has two different counts scheduled at Big Oaks and Clifty Falls State Park.

Each count covers a separate part of the county and is held on a different date. Volunteers may sign up to count birds for a half day or all day.

The Big Oaks count will be held on Saturday. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Big Oaks office. The Big Oaks Conservation Society, a not-for-profit refuge support group, will provide lunch for volunteers at the refuge office.

Contact the refuge office at (812) 273-0783 to register. Weather for the Christmas bird count can vary, but warm, waterproof clothing is recommended.

The Hanover-Madison count is scheduled for Dec. 28. Participants should meet at the Clifty Falls Inn at 8 a.m. For more information about the Hanover-Madison count, contact the Clifty Falls State Park naturalist at (812) 273-0609.

The bird count reveals valuable scientific data. Each count group completes a census of the birds found during one 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 in a designated circle 15 miles in diameter.

The Christmas Bird Count will have more than 2,000 individual counts scheduled, expanding its geographical range and accumulating information about the winter distributions of various birds.

The data have become a crucial part of the government's natural history monitoring database. During the 109th season, more than 65 million birds were counted from 13 different countries. Count results from 1900 to the present are available through Audubon's website: