|Chickadee Photo by Lynn Pady
Did you know that the Christmas Bird Count is the oldest citizen science survey in the world?
In 1900, American ornithologist Frank Chapman asked birders to head out on Christmas Day to count the number of birds they see and submit their results to the first “Christmas Bird Census.” Today, over 2200 Christmas Bird Counts take place across Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, with the results amassing a huge database that reflects the distribution and number of winter birds over time.
Christmas Bird Counts are organized by local birding clubs or naturalist groups and take place on any one day between December 14th and January 5th. Volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 24km diameter circle or can arrange to count birds at their backyard feeder and report results to a local leader. The great thing about the Christmas Bird Count is that every bird you see counts – whether it’s a common backyard bird or an exotic visitor to your neighbourhood. Each count is added to a larger tally that scientists use to identify conservation success stories as well as areas in need of help.
Community events like the Christmas Bird Count are a great way for beginner birdwatchers to learn from experienced birders and enjoy a fun filled day outdoors. Luckily, finding a count close to you is as easy as visiting this database from our Birdlife International co-partner Bird Studies Canada, who administer the program in Canada.
Are you planning to join a Christmas Bird Count? Let us know in the comments below!