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2017/18 Christmas Bird Count

This year will be Audubon’s 118th Christmas Bird Count. Even more amazing, this is the bird club's 56th consecutive year of participation. And once again, The Cayuga Bird Club will organize the Ithaca count on their traditional date of January 1, New Year's Day, which falls on a Monday.  All members of the public are encouraged to participate and we are always hoping to inspire some first time counters to participate, so please don't hesitate to be in touch if you are interested in learning more. If you would like more information or if you would like assistance in choosing a count area or if you are a beginner and are concerned about identifying birds accurately, please get in touch with club President Wes Blauvelt at, He will be happy to discuss count particulars and offer options which may be appealing to you. Also, check out this link for lots of information and historical perspective on this event:

Within the 15-mile diameter Ithaca count circle, we have nine areas from which to choose, all with their own hotspots. Here is the map which shows the circle and the areas. Click on the image to download a printable PDF.

The Area Leaders are listed below, so if there is an area you are particularly interested in, get in touch with that leader and they will assign you to a location within the area to survey. Beginners can be paired with more experienced birders. The more eyes and ears, the better. Dress warmly, be sure to have some hot beverages and other provisions with you and get out and enjoy the day. This will be a great start to your own personal 2018 bird list while contributing to this monumental data collection.

You can begin at 12:01 a.m. on January 1 by listening for owls (although around 5 a.m. may be better), or you can head out at dawn (or later, it's up to you) to tally resident songbirds, waterfowl and raptors. You can drive around in the afternoon to look for hawks, and/or you can snuggle in at home and count birds at your feeders. As you can see, there are many options for participation and your input is invaluable at all levels. We want to thank all of you in advance for your time and contribution.

If you choose to stay home and count birds at your feeders, write down the total time you spend watching, the species seen, 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 at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (607-254-2473) between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to record your totals. And please, call before 6:00 p.m.! 

Compilation Dinner

At the end of the day, join other Christmas Bird Count (CBC) participants, families and friends in the auditorium of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Johnson Center, starting at 6:00 p.m., for a potluck supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by the compilation of sightings at 7:15 p.m. Bring a dish to share, a beverage and your own table service. Paul Anderson will be our count compiler and we are happy to have him do this. He will bring good bird knowledge and a wonderful historical perspective to this endeavor.

Area Leaders

 Number  Leader  Description
 I  Colleen Richards West Dryden, Hile School Road area. Open fields, secondary growth fields, and woodlots. Possible Merlin, White-winged Crossbills, blackbirds, and sparrows.
 II  Bob McGuire Fall Creek area, Mount Pleasant. Woodlands and fields. Good for turkeys, hawks, and herons.
 III  Marie Read The linear park in Dryden, Beam Hill, and Yellow Barn Road. Pine and spruce forests, good for winter finches.
 IV  Laura Stenzler Ellis Hollow area, Snyder Hill, Ringwood. Woodlands and fields. Good for hawks, turkeys, bluebirds, sparrows, owls, and finches.
 V  Sandy Podulka Six Mile Creek gorge, Brooktondale area. Our largest area, good birding and hiking. Possible turkey and grouse.
 VI  Asher Hockett Danby area, Finger Lakes Trail, and Buttermilk Falls. Noted for wintering bluebirds and robins.
 VII  Josh Snodgrass West side of Cayuga Lake, Bostwick Road, Mecklenberg Road. Good for waterfowl, including all three species of merganser.
 VIII  Lynn Leopold Cornell campus, Cayuga Heights, and Stewart Park. Good for rare birds, Fish Crows, and gulls.
 IX  Mark Chao East side of Cayuga Lake, Lansing area. Fields, woodlots. Waterfowl and field birds, including Northern Shrike and Short-eared Owl.

Counts are submitted to Audubon, which compiles the data from all the count circles. Audubon publishes a summary report each year and posts all CBC data on the Internet. This huge database is available for anyone to access--high school students doing a project, newspaper reporters writing about bird population trends, or scientists doing research. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count has always been held in the December 14 through January 5 time span. In addition to count circles throughout the United States, counts are conducted in Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Pacific Islands.

The Christmas Bird Count is a free program. Audubon has moved to an online delivery of the summary results of the CBC. 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:

The database that we use for our own area is available here.  You can see results, view photos, and get more detailed information for all other count regions at We urge you to browse this site to evaluate the importance and scope of this ongoing count. The data that is gathered through this huge and historic effort is invaluable and we are all fortunate that we get to be a part of this.