LEWISTON - The annual Thanksgiving Bird Count is fast approaching and once again, bird watchers are needed to collect information on their feathered friends. The count lasts for only one hour on Thanksgiving Day, and counters can tailor the time to fit their busy holiday schedule. The count is made in a count circle chosen by the counter. The circle can be considered a cylinder, since all birds seen on the ground or water, in vegetation or flying over or through the circle should be counted. Individual birds are to be counted only once during the hour, and flocks should be estimated or counted with the highest number at any one time used. Count circles are usually located around whatever attracts birds--feeders, baths, cover, etc. Most participants establish a count area visible from a comfortable indoor spot near a window. Some even select water areas or choose a favorite birding area and make it an outdoor event. The same count circles should be used each year, and participants are asked to send in reports even if they didn't observe any birds. . Not as well know as the Christmas Count or Breeding Bird Surveys, the Thanksgiving Bird Count was begun in 1966 by Dr. Ernest Edwards and the Lynchburg Bird Club of Virginia. It has grown across the nation, with 448 participants conducting 452 counts in the eleven Western states and Alaska. Most numerous were House Sparrow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-capped Chickadee and European Starling. Bird enthusiasts can pick up report forms at the Idaho Fish and Game Office located at 1540 Warner Avenue in Lewiston, by visiting www.palouseaudubon.org/, or by contacting Tom Weber, Palouse Audubon Society, at (509) 334-3817.