Community Science: Christmas Bird Count Season

by Dec 11, 2017News0 comments

Join the 118th Annual Christmas Bird Count!

This year’s Christmas Bird Count is about to begin—and the data you report has a real and measurable effect on the course of conservation.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count will mobilize over 72,000 volunteer community scientists in more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere for two weeks this December. The Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone.

Birders of all ages and abilities are welcome to contribute to this fun, community science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least ten volunteers, including a compiler to coordinate the process, count in each circle. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see.

There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. (Want to brush up on your ID skills? Take this quiz of common Christmas Bird Count birds!)

There are four local Counts in our region.

Saturday, December 16: Peekskill Christmas Bird Count. Contact Michael Newhouse at for details and to sign up!

Sunday, December 17: Greenwich-Stamford Christmas Bird Count. Contact Cynthia Ehlinger at for details and to sign up!

Saturday, December 30: Putnam County Christmas Bird Count. Contact Charlie Roberto at for details and to sign up.

 Monday, January 1: Pawling County Christmas Bird Count. Contact Carena Pooth at for details and to sign up.

To date, more than 300 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. Bird-related community science efforts are also critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. This documentation is what enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study. The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades.

Photo Credits

Banner: Dark-eyed Junco by Mick Thompson

Sidebar: Ponie Sheehan, Janelle Robbins, Christine McCluskey, and Steve Robbins, Christmas Bird Count 2015


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