What's the Christmas Bird Count?
Started in 1900, the CBC is the longest running citizen science survey in the world. Seattle Audubon has coordinated the Seattle CBC for 84 years! Up to 200 volunteers survey the count circle (15 miles in diameter) to identify and count anything with feathers and a pulse. There are 14 subareas in the Seattle count circle with each being covered by one or multiple teams. All results are tallied by a count compiler and submitted to National Audubon. This data is incorporated into very important research, like the State Of The Birds report.
Do I need to be an expert birdwatcher to participate?
Experienced birders, neighborhood residents, and newcomers are all welcome. It's a great way to get 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.
When is it?
The Seattle CBC is usually on the last Saturday in December. This year the CBC will take place on December 29, 2012. The CBC starts around dawn (with some teams listening for owls in the predawn darkness) and lasts until late afternoon. On the evening of the count, CBC participants converge to compile the official list for the day and enjoy a soup potluck. There is always a surprise or two! Volunteers are needed for potluck set up and clean up. Please contact Marieke to volunteer. Registration is closed for the 2012 count, however walk-ups are welcome at the Discovery Park Visitors Center (3801 W Government Way) at around 7:45am – 8:00am, or 6am for owling.
What does it cost?
For the first time since 1955, the CBC is now a free program! However, Seattle Audubon kindly asks you to donate the traditional $5.00 fee to Seattle Audubon’s Citizen Science Programs. Simply click the “Donate” button on the left of this page, click here, submit your $5.00 to your circle leader or bring it to the potluck.
What should I bring on the day of the count?
Dress for the weather! Surveyors will go out, rain or shine or snow. Layers are strongly encouraged with a waterproof jacket and/or pants. Warm hats, socks and gloves are a must. Some subareas 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.
Volunteers can join other counters at the CBC potluck to listen to the preliminary species tally over a bowl of warm soup. Potluck attendees are asked to RSVP and indicate whether they’re bringing soup, dessert, or bread. Volunteers are also needed for potluck set up and clean up (contact Marieke to volunteer). This year, the 2012 CBC potluck will be held at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church down the road from the Seattle Audubon offices in Wedgwood (8008 35th Ave. NE). Doors open at 4 p.m. if you'd like to warm up; the potluck ends at 7 p.m. Parking is available in the church parking lot, but may be limited.
Other Christmas Bird Counts in Washington State (36 total taking place 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!)
Past Media Coverage
"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 email@example.com
2011 CBC: THANK YOU!
We were blessed with beautiful weather and some great birds. Preliminary tally at the potluck totaled 124 species, including Common Redpoll, White-throated Sparrow, Townsend's Solitaire and Long-tailed Duck. Read the full summary prepared by Seattle CBC compiler, Matt Bartels!
Seattle CBC Map
(click to enlarge)
Read results from past CBCs:
2005 CBC results
2006 CBC results
2007 CBC results
2009 CBC results
2010 CBC results
2011 CBC results