The 2021 Christmas Bird Count is underway!

You can embark on an all-day scientific adventure along with volunteers from all over the United States, Canada, and many other countries. The Christmas Bird Count is a large-scale citizen science project operated by the National Audubon Society that takes place every year from December 14th to January 5th. For this event, volunteers take one whole day to count every bird they see or hear in a designated area. This information is sent to a massive database that scientists use to understand the health and activity of bird populations.

Getting Started

To participate, you’ll first need to locate a circle. Circles are groups of volunteers that cover one specific area on a single day of the Bird Count. To find a circle near you, click here. Space is limited, so get in contact with your local circle’s compiler soon to reserve your spot!

Learn More

For more information on the Christmas Bird Count and other citizen science opportunities through the National Audubon Society, click here.

Why Citizen Science?

Some scientific questions can be answered with very manageable techniques. Suppose you’re a scientist who wants to know how two chemicals interact; both chemicals are available in your lab, you can mix them together in a small container, and record what happens. The whole experiment can be completed by a small team of scientists in a short period of time at one location. Some scientific questions, however, involve studying patterns that take place over huge spans of space and time. Migration, for example, is an astounding, fascinating behavior, but it can be very hard for professional scientists to study. Some birds travel across vast distances during migration; finding out where these birds go, when they get there, and how these variables change over time can be a daunting task. To understand migration patterns and other aspects of bird biology, scientists need information on where and when birds of different species are showing up, and the more observations they can include in their project, the better. There are lots of data to collect, but only so many scientists to collect them. That’s where citizen scientists like you come in!

To collect the massive amounts of data needed to understand migration patterns, we need communities. People of all backgrounds can contribute to bird research, and the Christmas Bird Count is an excellent place to begin. Find your circle today!

And to share with your inner circle, we created this Christmas Bird Count 2021 Ornament to hang on your tree. Print it, put it together, hang it and don’t forget to share it with us #ChristmasBirdCount2021Ornament