Christmas Bird Count 2023

Christmas Bird Count (CBC) December 16, 2023

Data compiled for Redbud’s 2023 CBC can also be found in the February 2024 Western Grebe newsletter.

The Redbud Audubon Society will conduct its 49th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a traditional project of Audubon societies around the country.

Previous participants have been sent information about meeting times and places by the count organizers, Brad and Kathy Barnwell, but new participants are welcome. They can meet at either Anderson Marsh State Historic Park or Clear Lake State Park at 8 a.m. or may participate in smaller individual groups. Email Brad and Kathy at to reserve your spot or to ask about participating in a smaller group within the count circle. You can also call Redbud Audubon at (707) 805-9410 and leave a message. Someone will return your call. Newcomers are highly urged to join this effort. If you are new to Lake County and would like to meet people with similar interests, join us on count day!

Previous to the bird count, on Thursday, Dec. 14 starting at 7 p.m. Donna Mackiewicz will host a Zoom Bird Identification program. This will be an extensive slide show featuring birds that are often seen on the annual count and birds that are common to Lake County. The program emphasizes the field characteristics of the common and some not-so-common birds here. The Zoom registration will be in the December Western Grebe newsletter. Please note the bird ID program is being held a week earlier than our usual programs because of the date of the CBC.

National Audubon has been holding a Christmas Bird Count for 124 years.  The official count period usually starts around the middle of December and ends the first week of January. Local Audubon Societies can decide what day they conduct their counts within this time frame. Every individual bird and species encountered during the day is recorded. Each count group has a designated circle of 15 miles in diameter and tries to cover as much ground as possible within a certain period of time.

History of the Christmas Bird Count

Each December birders gather to record every individual bird and species encountered during the day. Each count group has a designated circle of 15 miles in diameter and tries to cover as much ground as possible within a certain period of time.

The Christmas Bird Count began more than 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 to 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 century-old institution.

Scientists rely on the remarkable trend data of Audubon’s CBC to better understand how birds and the environment are faring throughout North America – and what needs to be done to protect them. Data from Audubon’s signature Citizen Science program are at the heart of numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies.

With all of the issues, including climate change and habitat loss, facing both local bird species and birds worldwide, there is no time like the present to start getting involved in local bird conservation and educating yourself about the numerous bird species we have right here in Lake County; the annual Christmas Bird Count is a fun way of doing this.

The data collected by each count group are then sent to the National Audubon Headquarters in New York and is made available online.