Bird lovers in Northwest Florida can enjoy a twice-monthly outdoor activity with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

From fall through spring, the society organizes bird walks on two Saturdays each month. The program allows for locals and visitors to learn about local birds, wildlife and plants.

The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society, a local chapter of the National Audubon Society, gathers local, experienced birders to act as guides for the entire group of bird watchers. The chapter, founded in Okaloosa and Walton counties in 1976, seeks to promote the appreciation, conservation and wise use of all natural resources in Northwest Florida, with a particular focus on birds and other wildlife.

Okaloosa and Walton counties combined have more than 300 members in the National Audubon Society and about 40 active participants in the local chapter.

In addition to the bird walks, the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society has a speaker program open to the public the first Thursday of each month from September through May at Northwest Florida State College. Topics have ranged from gopher tortoises in Florida to birds of Madagascar.

The society also participates in outreach activities at events such as the annual Choctawhatchee Estuary Family Festival to educate youths and their families about birds. An important activity for the society each December is the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, in which all the individual birds in a specified area are counted in a single day.

The Christmas Bird Count is the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive citizen-scientist project, and provides important data on population trends of birds.

The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society also schedules a weekend retreat each year to an especially productive birding locality. In April 2018, the retreat was to Dauphin Island, Alabama, and the 2019 retreat will be to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge south of Tallahassee.

For more information about the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society, visit choctawhatcheeaudubon.org/Chapter.html or on Facebook at facebook.com/choctawhatcheeaudubon/.