Christmas Bird Count History 

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is entering its 117th year of existence! Originally created in 1900 by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, the Christmas Bird Count replaced an old holiday tradition known as the Christmas ‘Side Hunt.’ The Christmas ‘Side Hunt’ was a wildlife census where people would go to an area and shoot all the wildlife in their path, a popular strategy back in the 1800s. Frank Chapman and others had observed a decline in bird populations and suggested a change in methodology, establishing the first ever Christmas Bird Count.

 

Conservation efforts have grown tremendously since 1900, as has the reach of the Christmas Bird Count! The CBC is primarily conducted by citizen scientists, like yourself, in conjunction with an Audubon chapter. Data is then sent to National Audubon, which has been managing this extensive database that has contributed to many studies regarding bird populations. CBC data has been listed as one of the 26 indicators of climate change by the Environmental Protection Agency and was also used in the American Bird Conservation Initiative’s and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State of the Birds Report in 2009. This long-term data set provides us with population trends for hundreds of species of birds in North America, many of which are in decline.

Detroit Area CBC’s

Detroit Audubon is happy and proud to support the Detroit Christmas Bird Count and the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count in 2017! See below for details and how you can participate!

Detroit Christmas Bird Count: Sunday, December 17, 2017

This is one of the oldest Christmas Bird Counts. Detroit Audubon co-sponsors this count where birders spend the entire day covering a 15 mile diameter circle in parts of northern Oakland County to count as many birds as possible. Meet for pizza and count wrap-up at day’s end.  To participate, call count compiler Tim Nowicki at (734) 525-8630 or email him at tnowick@gmail.com for an assignment. 

To read the complete Detroit Audubon Christmas Bird Count Report for 2016, click here.

Rockwood Christmas Bird Count: Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Detroit Audubon co-sponsors this annual count of the 15 mile diameter circle including Grosse Ile, Lake Erie Metropark, Trenton, Rockwood, South Rockwood, Newport, and Oakwoods Metropark.  A chili lunch and dinner will be provided. A public hike (reservations required) guided by Detroit Audubon will begin at 9am at Lake Eerie Metropark. To register for this public hike, please RSVP using the Google form below, or kindly email us at staff@detroitaudubon.org. 

If you are an experienced birder, many routes need more coverage (some are not covered at all due to lack of volunteer counters). To participate in the all day count, contact count compiler Tom Carpenter at tcarpen1980@yahoo.com or at (734) 728-8733 for an assignment.

Detroit Audubon’s Research Coordinator will be surveying the International Wildlife Refuge portion of the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count, which includes Humbug Marsh and the Gibraltar Wetlands Unit. If you are interested in volunteering with our Research Coordinator within the Refuge, please contact her at erowan@detroitaudubon.org or 313-800-1578. We especially need help from experienced birders. Thanks and Happy Birding!

To read the complete Rockwood Christmas Bird Count Report for 2016, click here.