Reminder: Help count birds for science during Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count

Pileated Woodpeckers

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. 18, 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.” 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 fun, nationwide citizen science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months, Taylor said. 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 Terrace, Kenmore, Maltby and much of Bothell.

In 2019, a record 107 people counted birds at feeders at 81 locations. The feeder counters detected 3,889 birds belonging to 51 species. This accounted for 11% of the birds detected on the count. The feeder counters found 100% of the California Quail, 73% of the Band-tailed Pigeons, 52% of the Anna Hummingbirds, 50% of the Barred Owls, 51% of the Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 65% of the Bushtits, 67% of the Red-breasted Nuthatches, 67% of the White-throated Sparrows, 50% of the Orangecrowned Warblers, and 58% of the Townsend’s Warblers. Overall, the feeder counters had a significant positive impact on the success of the count. Complete results of 2019 local CBC can be found on the Pilchuck Audubon Website here.

To participate by counting birds in your yard and feeders confirm that you live within the count circle, using this zoomable map on the Pilchuck Audubon website. Instructions and the reporting form are found on the same page as the map. You can also contact Rick Taylor at

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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