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Christmas Bird Count

Main Project Information
Presented By National Audubon Society
Goal Contribute to the science of bird conservation
Task In 15-mile circle, count every bird you see/hear in 1 day.
Where North America

Known as the first and oldest Citizen Science project, at over 115 years, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count is also one of the largest, with 70,000+ person-days of efforts and more than 64 million birds counted each year. The CBC has contributed greatly to the science of bird conservation with hundreds of publications, including many in important scientific journals. From December 14 through January 5 each year, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition through the generations.

Count volunteers follow specified routes within a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day, and submit data to each circle compiler. 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. If observers live within a CBC circle, they may arrange in advance to count the birds at their feeders and submit those data to their compiler. All individual CBCs are conducted in the period from December 14 to January 5 (inclusive dates) each season, and each count is conducted in one calendar day (24-hour period).

As featured in Chapter 2 of Citizen Science by Caren Cooper.

How to Join

Please contact the CBC count compiler in advance of your participation to get assigned to a circle and sector. Beginning each November, the list of upcoming dates and CBC circles are listed here:

Project Timing Each Christmas Bird Count occurs on one day between the dates of December 14th and January 5th each season.
Social Media
Ideal Age Group High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Just once
Average Time Several hours
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity In snow or rain, At home, At the beach, In oceans, streams, rivers, lakes, At night
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags bird, birds, cbc, christmas, winter bird count
Project Updated 05/23/2018