Christmas Bird Count

Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

You can join the intrepid “citizen scientists” that venture out into the cold winter temperatures this Holiday season for the 109th Christmas Bird Count. Anyone who is interested is encouraged to participate in this important census. This January 2nd is the date for the Cook Christmas Bird Count. Contact the count coordinators Char or Jerry Jacobson at 218-666-2797  for more information. Other counts are held in Virginia, Hibbing, Ely and Aurora just to name a few.

Back in the 1800s there was the traditional Christmas “side hunts”, in which participants competed at how many birds they could kill.  At the end of that century ornithologist Frank Chapman, a member of the recently formed National Audubon Society, proposed counting birds on Christmas instead of killing them.

In 1900, the first Christmas Bird Count was held. Now there are over 50,000 participants in Canada and the U.S. 

Birds are counted in the same method every year. A count is performed in a “count circle” with a diameter of 15 miles. At least ten volunteers are required to count in each circle. Small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders instead of following routes. At the end of the count, there is a gathering to compile the information. It’s a great opportunity to meet fellow birders from the area.

Counts can be held on any day from December 14th to January 5th. You can go to this interactive website to see all the count circles in Minnesota:

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2 Responses to Christmas Bird Count

  1. I’m joining a group in Pine County on the 28th. It’ll be my first CBC and I’m really looking forward to it!

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