By Jose Barrientos

Get ready for this year’s 123rd Christmas Bird Count! 

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a large-scale volunteer effort organized by the National Audubon Society. It takes place every year between Dec 14th and January 5th. The CBC spans over several days; this means you can participate one day for a couple of hours or as many as you are available over the 22-day period. The data collected is then analyzed by scientists studying various species’ population trends. This allows them to better understand how these species are doing. 

Getting Started 

To participate, you’ll first need to locate a circle near you; or, if you’re in the traveling mood,make it a road trip! 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! 

Benefits of the Christmas Bird Counts 

Besides being an amazing experience and one of the earliest community science projects, it’s a great way to give back to birds and the science of birds. Many of us get so much joy from seeing and listening, as well as making artwork and sharing information about birds. This is a perfect way to go birding and help collect data  to better understand many of our favorite birds. 

Perspective from participating in the CBC! 

It’s a great way to connect with others with similar interests, make long-lasting friends, spend a couple of hours outside, and count birds. I was very fortunate to participate in CBC 2021. I connected with the Boulder Circle and spent 4 hours walking around neighborhoods with friends who were already participating in the bird count. We started early in the morning around 7 or 8 a.m., and we began by counting at Sombrero Marsh in Boulder. We spent an hour or so at this location, we got our numbers, and decided to move to the neighborhood between Arapahoe and Baseline on 55th. We broke the group up and walked around the neighborhood counting birds. One of the most memorable moments is when we stumbled upon a territory dispute between a Cooper’s hawk and a group of Black-billed magpies. At first, there were two or three magpies squawking at the hawk. When the hawk wasn’t paying attention, more magpies showed up. by the time the hawk flew off, there were about ten to thirteen magpies making quite a ruckus. Afterwards, we visited Baseline Reservoir, where we counted waterfowl. Then we visited Dry Creek Trailhead; our final location was around the Spanish Hills neighborhood. We even did some bird-counting while driving and saw a male Northern Harrier looking for food in an open field. Overall, the experience was amazing.I got to hang out with new and old friends, learned a lot from veteran birders, and found great locations for birding, not just for during CBC. 

Learn More 

People of all backgrounds can contribute to bird research, and the Christmas Bird Count is an excellent place to begin. Find your circle today! Click here for more information on the Christmas Bird Count and other community science opportunities through the National Audubon Society. 

And to share with your inner circle, we created this Christmas Bird Count 2022 Ornament to hang on your tree. Print it, put it together, hang it, and don’t forget to share it with us. #ChristmasBirdCount2022Ornament. If you decide to participate in a bird count this year, email us, and tell us about your experience. See you on the trail and happy birding!