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
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
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:
705 Sunglo Drive,
Penticton, BC, V2A 8X7