New Mexico – Thirty-five New Mexico communities are participating in this year's Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which Audubon says is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world.
The survey kicked off Tuesday. Thousands of volunteers throughout North America will tally bird numbers through Jan. 5.
Scientists rely on the trend data to better understand how birds and the environment are faring.
Results from past surveys have shown declining numbers for many birds that winter in the state.
In addition, New Mexico is seeing birds never before seen in the state or that weren't common.
This year, Audubon New Mexico will look not only at scientific data about how bird populations are coping with climate change, but also at the economic impact of such activities as bird watching.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.