One hundred and twenty-four years ago, Frank M. Chapman, an ornithologist and prominent figure within the newly formed Audubon Society, introduced the Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Chapman created this new festive holiday not only to tally bird populations but also to replace the “annual side hunt” a traditional practice of indiscriminate bird hunting which had decreased the American avian species by the early 20th century.
Today, the Bird Count is a primary example of community science, as it is dependent on volunteers who combat adverse weather conditions to contribute to this endeavor. The invaluable data amassed is utilized by Audubon and other organizations to evaluate the well-being of bird populations, ultimately helping to shape and inform future conservation efforts.
Having this long-term perspective is critical for conservationists to safeguard birds and their habitats and to identify environmental concerns that may impact not only avian species but also human populations. You can view how bird populations have changed over time with Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count trend viewer here.
Birders of all calibers are welcome to join the Audubon CBC, using Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it easy. If you want to sign up for the Audubon CBC to make sure your bird count data is entered into the official Audubon database, please use this map to find the nearest count location, or circle, to you and register with your local Audubon CBC compiler. For your CBC data to be added to the long running census, you must submit your data through the official Audubon compiler. If you have any questions or are looking for more information to find a count near you here in Vermont, review our information here. For more information click here for a video guide to the CBC