The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Christmas Bird Counts!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s Christmas Bird Count Season, or as I call, CBC!

Every year thousands of citizen scientist volunteers like you venture out to participate in the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project of the National Audubon Society. For over 100 years, citizen scientist volunteers have been collecting data on early-winter birds throughout the US, Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere.  Important data collected on the Christmas Bird Counts helps fuel the conservation work that helps protect all bird species! Click the link here to join in on the fun or keep up with the results as we enter the 117th annual count.

I participated in my first CBC in 2013 when a neighbor invited me to join the local group. I was only a beginner birder, but after my first morning I was hooked! I was paired up with Jon Dale, a very experienced birder and data compiler, who helped me identify some great birds. We were able to count close to 1000 birds that day, and even managed to spot two Pileated Woodpeckers, a first time bird for me!

“The annual Christmas Bird Count is an exciting way for bird watchers of all ages, whether counting backyard visitors or spending time in the field, to participate in the great “Citizen Science Project” which will provide valuable data for individuals and organizations trying to protect and preserve our avian resource.” – Jon Dale

In the time since my first bird count, I couldn’t help but keep a personal record of all the new species I’ve found and identified. I’ve become a better birder and I’ve continued to volunteer with CBC every year since!

Never birded before? No problem! Sign up in an area near you and get partnered with an experienced birder in your area! You’ll need to bring binoculars and I highly recommend bringing an ID guide or using a bird ID app. The Christmas Bird Counts are free and always looking for the next generation of citizen scientists to join the count! Click here for more information and available locations near you!

 

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