The 61st Martha’s Vineyard
Christmas Bird Count
Saturday, January 2nd 2021
Each year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 72,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled on Martha’s Vineyard will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years.
BiodiversityWorks is coordinating the annual CBC for Martha’s Vineyard and compiling the data to submit to Audubon. On the Vineyard, we have 13 territories, and each has a captain. Most teams are out before dawn to go owling, and we bird until sunset. Due to restrictions from COVID-19, teams aren’t taking new people for the CBC. Anyone with a bird feeder on Martha’s Vineyard is welcome to participate using the instructions below. The tally for the island will be a virtual tally this year, held on Zoom at 5:30 pm on SUNDAY, JANUARY 3rd. If you have questions, or want the Zoom link, email LuanneJ@biodiversityworksmv.org.
Bird Feeder Data – If you would like to submit data from your feeder, you can download instructions and a data sheet via these links:
Please email your form or bird list and effort to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 pm on count day, OR, call in to BiodiversityWorks (800-690-0993 ext. 0) and leave a message with your data, the time you started/ended, and how long you watched.
Citizen science efforts are critical to understanding how birds are responding to a changing climate. The CBC data enabled Audubon scientists to discover that 314 species of North American birds are threatened by global warming as reported in Audubon’s groundbreaking Birds and Climate Change Study. The tradition of counting birds, combined with modern technology and mapping, is enabling researchers to make discoveries that were not possible in earlier decades. To date over 200 scientific articles have been published from analysis of CBC data.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine – suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. 116 years of counting birds is a long time, but the program somehow brings out the best in people, and they stay involved for the long run. And so the tradition continues.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a citizen science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to chip in. For more information visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.