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Christmas Bird Count

In 1900, American ornithologist Frank Chapman asked birders across North America to head out on Christmas Day to count the birds in their home towns and submit the results as the first "Christmas Bird Census." The Christmas Bird Count, as it is now called, is conducted in over 2000 localities across Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. These bird observations have been amassed into a huge database that reflects the distribution and numbers of winter birds over time.

Christmas Bird Counts are conducted on any one day between December 14 and January 5 inclusive. They are carried out within a 24-km diameter circle that stays the same from year to year. Christmas counts are generally group efforts, though single-observer counts can and do happen. They are organized at the local level, usually by a birding club or naturalists organization.

As well as adding an exciting and fun event to the holiday season, the Christmas Bird Count provides important information for bird conservation. Data from the Count were used in assessment reports that added Western Screech-Owl, Rusty Blackbird, and Newfoundland Red Crossbill to the Species at Risk Act lists, and the general database was used extensively in the recent State of Canada's Birds  report.

To participate, look for counts happening near where you live by selecting Find a Count Near You from the menu on the left. That will provide lists of all the counts happening in each province or territory, along with the name and contact information of the compiler (organizer).

Christmas Bird Count coordination and data analysis were formerly funded through mandatory participant fees, but starting in 2012-13, these will be funded through donations. We hope you will continue to support the Christmas Bird Count by clicking the Support banner above. Thank you for sustaining this critically important program!

If you can't find a count near you and are interested in starting one in your local area, contact National Christmas Bird Count Coordinator Dick Cannings at:

Dick Cannings
705 Sunglo Drive,
Penticton, BC, V2A 8X7


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