Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count History 

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is entering its 122nd 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 CBCs

Detroit Audubon is proud to support the Detroit Christmas Bird Count and the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count in 2021! See below for details and how you can participate! Or to view Christmas Bird Counts all over the US click here.

Detroit Audubon Christmas Bird Count: Saturday, December 18, 2021

This is one of the oldest Christmas Bird Counts. Detroit Audubon 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. For more information, call count compiler Tim Nowicki at (734) 525-8630 or email him at for an assignment. 

Click Here for the Detroit Audubon CBC Results for 2018

Click Here for the Detroit Audubon CBC Results for 2019

Click Here for the Detroit Audubon CBC Results for 2020

Rockwood Christmas Bird Count: Monday, December 27, 2021

Detroit Audubon sponsors this annual count of the 15 mile diameter circle including Grosse Ile, Lake Erie Metropark, Trenton, Rockwood, South Rockwood, Newport, and Oakwoods Metropark.  

As part of the Rockwood Christmas Bird Count, Detroit Audubon will be hosting a guided bird walk open to the public at Westcroft Gardens. This walk will begin at 9:00 am and advance registration is required.  Click here to sign up.

If you are an experienced birder, we are looking for volunteers to lead the counts in several areas. If you are interested, please contact our Research Coordinator at or 313-800-1578.

Click Here for the Rockwood CBC Results for 2018

Click Here for the Rockwood CBC Results for 2019

Click Here for the Rockwood CBC Results for 2020