Oct 20, 2022 - News

Be part of the longest-running bird count on the continent

Bird on a tree, with blue feathers

Steller's jay is among the species commonly seen in Seattle during the annual Christmas Bird Count coming up this year on Dec. 18. Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Whether you're a veteran bird-watcher or a new fan of the avian world, you can take part in the oldest citizen science project in North America. The 123-year-old Audubon Christmas Bird Count will take place this year in Seattle on Dec. 18.

How it works: Volunteers survey a 15-miles-in-diameter circle in downtown Seattle to identify and count anything with feathers and a pulse, according to Seattle Audubon.

  • The results are tallied and submitted to the National Audubon Society.

Why it matters: That data is used in real time by policymakers as well as researchers globally, per the National Audubon Society.

Among the noted studies based on data from the count is the 3 Billion Birds project that documents the loss of 2.9 billion — or 20% — of North America's bird population since 1970.

Details: All you have to do is sign up here after Nov. 1 for the day-long adventure. There's room, too, for folks who can't, or don't want to, leave home or have only a bit of time to spare, Seattle Audubon says.

  • You can still participate in the count if you live within the designated circle by reporting the birds that visit your feeders or just fly over your little spot in the world: Just choose "CBC Feeder Watch Participant" when registering for the count.
A map of Seattle area with little circles indicating areas for participating in bird counting.
Volunteers for counting and feeder-watching are needed for Seattle’s annual Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 18. ( Photo courtesy of Seattle Audubon)
  • And just for fun: Here is the call of a common Pacific Northwest bird, Steller's jays. They have a loud, and some would say annoying, melody that makes their voice among the easiest to recognize.
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