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    The Time of Year for the Birds: Audubon Counts Set Near Freeport and in Hampton Township

    The 114th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts are scheduled with Duquesne University Professor Dr. Brady Porter leading two of the local counts.

    Porter and a cadre of volunteers will be braving the weather-and the darkness-to meet at 5 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, to call for owls at Murphy's Bottom, in South Buffalo Township, near Freeport, Armstrong County. The main bird count will start around 7:30 a.m. and finish around 2 p.m.

    Making Murphy's Bottom a regular bird counting spot since 2006, Porter and his crew generally see between 22 and 32 species.

    The second will be in Hampton Township, along Pine Creek, on Saturday, Dec. 28.

    The group will cover a five-mile loop along the railroad tracks and Pine Creek in the Duncan Road region. Porter and other volunteers have been working on this bird count since 2007 and have spotted between 23 and 29 species during a count.

    Bird watchers consider the cold weather that has the rest of us grumbling to be an advantage. "We're always hopeful that cold weather will bring down some of the more northern species like red crossbill, white-winged crossbill, common redpoll, evening grossbeak and pine siskin," Porter said.

    For more information, please contact Porter at 412.337.7397.

    Duquesne University

    Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in 10 schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.