Cedar Waxwing by Tom Sanders


Register for the 2015 Christmas Bird Count!

Registration for the 2015 Seattle Christmas Bird Count is now open. The 2015 CBC will take place on Saturday, 26th December.


What is the Christmas Bird Count?

Started in 1900, the CBC is the longest running citizen science survey in North America. Seattle Audubon has coordinated the Seattle CBC for nearly nine decades! Approximately 200 volunteers survey the count circle (15 miles in diameter) centered in downtown Seattle, to identify and count anything with feathers and a pulse. There are 14 areas within the Seattle count circle, each being covered by one or multiple teams of volunteer surveyors. All results are tallied by a count compiler and submitted to the National Audubon Society. These data are incorporated into very important research, like the State Of The Birds report and the National Audubon Society's Birds and Climate Change Report.

Do I need to be an expert birdwatcher to participate?

Experienced birders, beginner twitchers, neighborhood residents, and newcomers are all welcome to take part in the count. It's a great way to be introduced to birdwatching. New birdwatchers will be surprised to learn that over 120 species are regularly tallied during the all-day event. Total novice? Don't worry, all volunteers are assigned to teams led by experienced birdwatchers who are familiar with their areas and the avian species that reside there.

When is it?

The Seattle CBC takes place on the last Saturday in December. This year the count will take place on December 26, 2015. Count teams meet at around dawn (with some teams listening for owls in the pre-dawn darkness) and continue counting until late afternoon. On the evening of the count, CBC participants converge to compile the official species list for the day and enjoy a warm soup potluck. There is always a surprise sighting or two! Volunteers are always needed for potluck set-up and clean-up duties. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator to volunteer.



WANTED: Feeder Watchers

Don't want to, or can't leave the warmth of your home? Have a young family that wants to take part? If your home is within the Seattle CBC circle you can still take part in the count by reporting the birds that visit your bird feeder/s and yard. Simply mark Feeder Watcher in the Preferred Survey Location section of the registration form. Check out this map to ensure your feeder is within the Seattle CBC circle boundary.

Find instructions and tips on how to conduct your Feeder Watch, in this useful guide. Use this datasheet to record your bird observations. Follow this link for a full expanded species list.


How much does it cost?


The CBC is a free program. However, Seattle Audubon kindly asks you to donate the traditional $5.00 fee to Seattle Audubon’s citizen science programs. Simply add your donation during the CBC registration process or click the “Donate” button on the left of this page.



What should I bring on the day of the count?

Dress for the weather! Surveyors will go out, rain, shine or snow. Layers are strongly encouraged with a waterproof jacket and/or pants. Warm hats, socks and gloves are a must. Some areas require more walking, others more driving, so please wear appropriate footwear. Fluids, snacks and a sack lunch are also important. Binoculars will not be provided, so please bring your own.


CBC Potluck

Upon completion of the counts, volunteers can gather with other leaders and counters at the CBC potluck to listen to the preliminary species results over a bowl of warm soup. The potluck will take place at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church hall (map):

Wedgwood Presbyterian Church
8008 35th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Doors open at 4 p.m. if you’d like to warm up a little early; the potluck ends at 7 p.m. Potluck attendees are asked to RSVP during their CBC registration and indicate whether they’re bringing soup, dessert, or salad. Volunteers are also needed for potluck set-up and clean-down, contact the Volunteer Coordinator to volunteer.



Other Resources

Seattle Christmas Bird Count Final Tally Sheet lists all the bird species that are potentially encountered during the Seattle CBC

Other Christmas Bird Counts in Washington State (approx. 36 total taking place annually all over the state, Dec 14 through Jan 5)

National Audubon Christmas Bird Count (learn more about the history and run a custom analysis of the CBC data!)

View online map showing all 2,400+ count circles


Past Media Coverage

"Pikes/Pines - Capitol Hill's Christmas Bird Count" Brendan McGarry, Capitol Hill Times, December 21, 2014

"Christmas bird count" Colin Ditz, Seattle Times, December 28, 2013.

"Seattle bird lovers stroll out for Christmas count" Emily Heffter, Seattle Times, December 31, 2011.

"Christmas Bird Count is bird-watchers' annual delight" Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times, December 21, 2009.

"Birders scan treetops and underbrush in an annual count that began 108 years ago" Craig Welch, Seattle Times, Sunday December 30, 2007.

Search Seattle Times archives for "Christmas Bird Count"

"Two Mourning Doves: The Christmas Bird Count" Weekday with Steve Scher on KUOW. Aired December 26, 2007 at 10am.


Questions? Media inquiries?

Contact  Toby Ross, Science Manager at 206-523-8243 x21 or tobyr@seattleaudubon.org


The 2014 Seattle CBC was a great success with a total of 206 volunteers recording nearly 48,000 birds of 120 species. View the full results prepared by Seattle CBC compiler, Matt Bartels.


Read results from past Seattle CBCs:

2006 CBC results

2007 CBC results

2008 CBC results

2009 CBC results

2010 CBC results

2011 CBC results

2012 CBC Results

2013 CBC Results

2014 CBC results

2015 CBC Results

Oregon/Washington 2014 CBC regional summary














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