Reminder: Help count birds for science during Audubon’s annual Christmas Count Dec. 14

Photo by Rick Taylor

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. 14, birders and nature enthusiasts will take part in this century-long project.

“Pilchuck Audubon is making a special effort to count birds visiting yard bird feeders. Counting the birds at your feeders for as little as 30 minutes can contribute to science.” says 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 fun, 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 60 locations in South Snohomish County and northern King County. They reported 2,601 birds belonging to 57 species. One feeder counter detected the count’s first Pine Grosbeak!. The feeder counters found 62% of the Band-tailed Pigeons, 54% of the Anna Hummingbirds, 52% of the Bushtits, and 50% of the Townsend’s Warblers.  Overall, the feeder counters had a significant positive impact on the success of the count. Complete results of last year’s local 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/South County count circle, using this map. Click on the link and when the map is displayed, enter your address in the search box at the top of the page. Then zoom 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 (or 425-214-2764).

Each year, the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 75,000 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 Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink. The tradition of counting birds combined with modern technology and mapping is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades.

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