Recently, our group of eleven youth birders and their parents gathered to participate in a a great tradition in birding: the Christmas Bird Count!
There are actually more than 2,000 Christmas Bird Counts(CBC’s) conducted each year across the Western Hemisphere, and all of the data collected helps scientists better understand trends in bird populations. For 110 years, this survey effort has contributed greatly to the understanding of North American bird life.
We took part in the Bombay Hook CBC, in its 69th year of running. We made stops at Raymond Pool, Shearness Pool, and Bear Swamp, counting all the birds we saw at each location. Waterfowl like Ruddy Ducks, raptors like Bald Eagles, and songbirds like Eastern Bluebird all made it onto our list.
In our short three-hour tour of the refuge, we observed a total of
6,529 birds of 37 species. Our effort helped add to the overall count effort of dozens of observers spread across the 15-mile circle. The overall count total will be more than 100 species of birds when all tallied!
One of our best birds was a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk perched low in a tree, that then flew from tree to tree as it hunted along the edge of a forest. These woodland raptors are not that common in winter, and we were excited to be able to add this bird to our list.
To learn more about the Christmas Bird Counts and their history, visit the National Audobon Society’s website: