Christmas bird counters wanted this month

The National Audubon Society’s 119th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Dec. 14, 2018 and January 5, 2019. The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a long-standing program of the National Audubon Society. Since the count began over a century ago, Audubon Society has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteers to conduct its early winter bird census across the U.S., Canada and many countries in the Western Hemisphere. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle and is organized by a count compiler. Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally-- all birds are counted throughout the 24-hour period, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day.

There is a specific methodology to CBC, and all participants must make arrangements to participate in advance with the circle compiler by using the map service to locate an established circle in their area. Interested participants will need to visit to view established circles in their area. There are numerous circles across all areas of Alaska including Anchorage, Eagle River, Palmer, Kenai, Seward, Homer, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Tok, Cordova, Valdez, Soldotna, Kodiak, Naknek, Bethel, Unalaska, Nome, Galena, Prudhoe Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Wrangell, Sitka, Hoonah, Ketchikan and more.

Green and yellow bird icons mean that registration is still open in that area, while red bird icons signify that registration is closed. Online registration is unavailable for this year’s count. However, to sign up for a specific circle, click on the bird icon and use the contact information provided to email the compiler for that circle. They will register you, notify you of your area’s specific count event date (not all sites have the same count date) and connect you with other birdwatchers in your area who are also participating in the count.

Many communities celebrate after the event with count summary potlucks in the evening. After tallying birds at the mouth of the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers in Soldotna, participants will reconvene at the new Visitor Center at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to share stories and pictures from the day’s events. In Fairbanks, participating birdwatchers can join other participants for a summary feast after dark. Additionally, Sitka, Juneau, Cordova, Seward, Homer, Eagle River and Naknek will offer their own potluck tallying events.

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