Christmas bird count season is here
Christmas bird count season is here

Christmas bird count season is here

Christmas Bird Counts are the world’s longest-running citizen science wildlife survey recruiting tens of thousands of observers in Canada, the US, Latin America, the Caribbean, and some Pacific islands.

In 1900, Frank Chapman, who was the founder of Bird-Lore, (later to become Audubon Magazine), had an idea that instead of doing a hunt to kill as many small animals, including birds as a way of monitoring and understanding, it would be better to arrange teams to count and record simply what they saw instead. This idea, with its humble beginning now involves over 60,000 people per year and is growing.

Nova Scotia CBC’s

The very first Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in Nova Scotia was conducted on December 23, 1913 when Harrison F. Lewis and E. Chesley Allen saw twelve species of birds during the first Yarmouth Count. This count was done again in 1914 and 1915 before Robie Tufts joined them by starting the Wolfville CBC. The results of the early counts were published in Bird-Lore, then in the Canadian Field Naturalist and finally in our own Newsletter. You can find our first CBC in the August 1956 Issue of The Nova Scotia Museum of Science Newsletter in the Library/Resource Centre of our Website.

Today, Nova Scotia boasts of an average of 32 counts per year and between those in the field and those counting birds in their backyard, we have over 1,500 people taking part. The illustration below shows the areas that traditional counts take place in the province with contact information for each compiler. We have a total species list over time of 287 different species as well as several sub-species/races.

How does the count work?

Volunteers are divided into five or six groups. Each group has a leader who is capable of identifying every bird in the area by sight and most by sound. The group is filled out with less experienced birders. Even beginning birders can play a role as each set of eyes and ears increases the number of birds observed.

Starting at 8:00 am, each group follows a specified route, sometimes driving, sometimes walking. Every bird that is seen is identified and counted. This continues until about 5:00 pm.

Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between December 14 and January 5.


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