Christmas Bird Count-December 18

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The CBC began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history.  On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals.  Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort – and a more than a century-old institution.

Each Christmas Bird Count is conducted on a single day between December 14 and January 5. Birders and nature enthusiasts on Cortes Island join birders across the western hemisphere to participate in North America’s longest-running wintertime birding tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  The CBC is conducted in over 2000 localities across Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.  As well as adding an exciting and fun event to the holiday season, the Christmas Bird Count provides important information for bird conservation. Data from the count were used in assessment reports that added Western Screech-Owl, Rusty Blackbird and Newfoundland Red Crossbill to the Species at Risk Act list, and the general database was used extensively in the recent State of Canada’s Birds report.

Cortes Island CBC is co-sponsored by the Cortes Island Museum, Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada.  Participants usually divide up into small groups to cover the island’s best birding spots. All groups have experienced birders willing to share their knowledge, so novices are welcome!   Bring binoculars, bird books and dress warmly. Backyard birdfeeder observers are also requested to send their observations.

In 2022, the Cortes Island Museum scheduled our CBC for Sunday, December 18, with George Sirk as the main bird leader who will help to tally the results for all Cortes groups.


Call the Museum, 250-935-6340, for more information.