If you’re an avid bird watcher, you may enjoy participating in this years Dec. 14 through Jan. 5 Christmas Bird Count. If so, register now.
The annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is conducted within an established 15-mile wide circle, and is organized by a count compiler. Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear throughout the day. It's not just a species tally; all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. Because it is a 24-hour event, some CBC birders will attempt to call owls and other night birds for a count.
If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, and you prefer to be a feeder watcher, you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you make an advanced arrangement with the count compiler.
To register go to the sign-up link (Audubon GBBC) for information about how to contact the local CBC compiler in a count circle. And Audubon answers these primary questions you may have:
What is the Christmas Bird Count? The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society, with over 100 years of community science involvement. It is an early-winter bird census, where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere go out over a 24-hour period on one calendar day to count birds.
Can I just do my own CBC and send you my data? No. Since each CBC is a real census, and since the 15-mile diameter circle contains a lot of area to be covered, single-observer counts (except in unusual circumstances) cannot be allowed. To participate in the CBC, you will need to join an existing CBC circle by contacting the compiler in advance of the count day.
Why do some Christmas Bird Count circles not allow online registration? Accepting online registrations of participants is the individual decision of each circle compiler and is based on a number of factors, including the number of participants already committed to the count, the amount of area already covered, and the compiler's available time.
If you can’t participate in the Christmas Bird Count, you may be interested in getting involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) organized by the Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It takes place President's Day weekend each February, and you can count the birds each day in your backyard/community and then enter the results online. For more information on the GBBC, visit the Audubon GBBC page.
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.
Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.
The 21st annual GBBC will be held Friday, February 16, through Monday, February 19, 2018. Visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.