In its 1 January 2009 Editorial, Nature [457, 8] comments on the public service that is the Christmas bird count. Nature calls the Count a
. . . model to be emulated in distributed, volunteer science.
The 5th of January marks the completion of the 109th Christmas bird count, a yearly rite in which groups of North American bird-lovers pick a day around the winter solstice, fan out in teams to their designated areas, and count every bird that they see.