Christmas Bird Count

Locals participated in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count on New Year's Day! This is Audubon’s 122st Christmas Bird Count and our club’s 60th consecutive year of participation. We started the new year off by counting all the birds we could find within our 15-mile diameter Ithaca count circle on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The data from the count is used to map species distribution and abundance of birds across North America as well as areas of South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. In 2022, 159 observers reported 81 species on the day, and another 13 species during count week.

Within the 15-mile diameter Ithaca count circle, shown below, we have nine areas, each with their own hotspots. Below is a map of the Ithaca count circle areas. Click on the image to download a printable PDF. An interactive zoomable map is here.

There are many options for participation and your input is invaluable at all levels. You can choose a count area or stay at home to count birds that come to feeders in your yard. You can count owls in the very early morning, or wait until it has warmed up a bit to go out on your own or with others. Dress warmly, bring your mask, be sure to have some hot beverages and get out and enjoy the day.

Christmas Bird Count Area Leaders are listed below. If there is an area where you’d like to help count birds, please get in touch with that leader and they will discuss specific locations with you. If you’d like assistance in choosing a count area, please email Josh Snodgrass at cedarshiva@gmail.com.

Here are the count areas and their leaders:

    1. Colleen Richards (clr82@juno.com) West Dryden, Hile School Road area. Open fields, secondary growth fields, and woodlots. Possible Merlin, White-winged Crossbills, blackbirds, and sparrows.

    2. Bob McGuire (bmcguire@clarityconnect.com) Fall Creek area, Mount Pleasant, Neimi/Hanshaw Road. Woodlands and fields. Good for turkeys, hawks, and herons.

    3. Phil McNeil (phil.mcneil@gmail.com) Beam Hill, Yellow Barn Road, the northern end of the Jim Schug Trail in Dryden. Pine and spruce forests. Good for winter finches.

    4. Laura Stenzler (lms9@cornell.edu) Ellis Hollow area, Snyder Hill, Ringwood. Woodlands and fields. Good for hawks, turkeys, bluebirds, sparrows, owls, and finches.

    5. Sandy Podulka (sgp4@cornell.edu) Six Mile Creek gorge, Brooktondale area. Our largest area, good birding and hiking. Possible turkey and grouse.

    6. Wes Blauvelt (ravenbarnconsulting@gmail.com) Danby area, Finger Lakes Trail, and Buttermilk Falls. Noted for wintering bluebirds and robins.

    7. Josh Snodgrass (cedarshiva@gmail.com) West side of Cayuga Lake, Bostwick Road, Mecklenberg Road. Good for waterfowl, including all three species of merganser.

    8. Lynn Leopold (lynnbird58@yahoo.com) Cornell campus, Cayuga Heights, and Stewart Park. Good for rare birds, Fish Crows, and gulls.

    9. Mark Chao (markchao@imt.org) East side of Cayuga Lake, Lansing area. Fields, woodlots. Waterfowl and field birds, including Northern Shrike and Short-eared Owl.

If you choose to stay home and count birds at your feeders, write down the total time you spend watching, the species you see (or hear), and the maximum number of birds of each species seen at any one time. (This is the same protocol as Project Feederwatch). Donna Scott, our club volunteer, will be answering calls (607-379-1694) between 4:00pm and 6:00pm to record your tallies for each species. Please note that this is a personal phone number, only to be used to report feeder counts between 4-6pm on January 1, 2022.

The compilation gathering will again be virtual, and will be held on Monday, January 3, starting at 7:30pm. Paul Anderson will again serve as our count compiler this year. The counts will be tabulated and presented, and there will be an opportunity for everyone to share their highlights (or lowlights), and just chat in general. Register now for this Zoom meeting at https://tinyurl.com/ithacacbc2022

Covid-19 protocols remain in place. Social distancing and/or masking are required at all times in the field. Carpooling may only occur within existing familiar or social "pod" groups. All activities must comply with current state and municipal COVID-19 guidelines. We can still have a safe and fun count!

Join us for the count on New Year’s Day!

2022 Results

The spreadsheet for 2022, including historical counts since 1963, can be found here.

More Information on the Audubon Count

Counts are submitted to Audubon, where the data from all of the count circles are compiled. A summary report is published each year and all CBC data is available on the Audubon website: https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count. We urge you to browse this site to evaluate the importance and scope of this ongoing count. You can see results, view photos, and get more detailed information for all of the count regions. In addition to more than 1900 count circles throughout the United States, counts are conducted in Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. The data that is gathered through this huge and historic effort is invaluable and is available for anyone to access--high school students doing a project, newspaper reporters writing about bird population trends, or scientists doing research. The recent report in Science about the loss of North American birds included Christmas Bird Count data as part of the analysis. [Decline of the North American avifauna, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Adriaan M. Dokter, et al., Science 04 Oct 2019: Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 120-124. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6461/120].

The Christmas Bird Count is a free program. Audubon does request though, that you consider making a donation in support of their huge task of data compilation and analysis. Go to this link to do so: https://action.audubon.org/donate.

Resources for Count Day