The National Audubon Society invites birdwatchers and people with backyard bird feeders to participate in the longest-running citizen science survey – the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Saturday, Dec. 17, birders and nature enthusiasts will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate.
“This year Pilchuck Audubon is making a special effort to count birds visiting yard bird feeders,” said Rick Taylor, a volunteer with Pilchuck Audubon. “Recent research has highlighted the importance of suburban habitats and the surprising diversity of bird species that make use of our suburban yards and greenbelts.”
Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this nationwide citizen science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. The Edmonds/South Snohomish County CBC is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles that is centered near Martha Lake in Lynnwood. This circle covers South Everett, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrance, Kenmore, Maltby and much of Bothell. In last year’s CBC, people watched their feeders at 37 locations in South Snohomish County and Northern King County. They reported the only White-throated Sparrows in the circle, and accounted for 64 percent of the Townsend’s Warblers and 43 percent of the Anna’s Hummingbirds observed.
Collectively, they observed 48 species and 1,880 individual birds. Complete results of last year’s Edmonds CBC can be found on the Pilchuck Audubon Website here.
To participate by counting birds in your yard and feeders, first confirm that you live within the Edmonds count circle, using this map. Click on the link and when the map is displayed, enter Edmonds in the search box in the upper-right-hand corner of the page. Then zoom in or out until you see the whole circle. Verify that your home is located within it.
You will also need to follow specific counting directions which, along with additional general information about the Edmonds CBC, can be found on Pilchuck Audubon’s website at: Detailed Instructions for Home Counters. You can also contact Rick Taylor at [email protected] (or 425-214-2764) or Bob Schmidt at [email protected] (or 425-273-1579).
Each year, the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,500 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled in South Snohomish and Northern King County area will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.
To date over 200 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. Bird related citizen science efforts are also critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. This documentation is what enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study. The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird‐Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine – suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. This program brings out the best in people and they tend to stay involved for the long run. And so the tradition continues.