Christmas Bird Count History


History of the Christmas Bird Count Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”: They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.

Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census”-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.

So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Frank M. Chapman and the enthusiasm of twenty-seven dedicated birders, twenty-five Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.

The First Christmas Bird Count was on December 25, 1900. About 18,500 individual birds and 27 total participants Cumulative bird species list: 89 species total. 

Counts conducted in first Christmas Bird Count: 25 total counts

Scotch Lake, York County, New Brunswick                                                                                  Toronto, Ontario
Keene, New Hampshire
Belmont and Cambridge, Massachusetts                                                                                           Arnold Arboretum, Boston, Massachusetts                                                                                       Winchester, Massachusetts                                                                                                                   Bristol, Connecticut                                                                                                                                Norwalk, Connecticut                                                                                                                     Auburn to Owasco Lake, New York                                                                                                  Central Park, New York City, New York                                                                                            Englewood, New Jersey                                                                                                                        Moorestown, New Jersey                                                                                                                       Newfield, New Jersey                                                                                                                            Baldwin, Louisiana                                                                                                                                Pueblo, Colorado                                                                                                                                      Germantown, Pennsylvania                                                                                                                  Wyncote, Pennsylvania                                                                                                                           Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                                                                         Oberlin, Ohio                                                                                                                                         Glen Elyn, Illinois                                                                                                                                  North Freedom, Sauk County, Wisconsin                                                                                          La Grange, Missouri                                                                                                                              Pacific Grove, Monterey County, California                                                                                    Neshaminy Creek & Upper Delaware River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                  Delaware River Meadows, Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania

For detailed information about the Westport CT CBC Christmas Bird Count 2014 Click here. Backyard Birds Feeder PDF list Click Here. Christmas Bird Count Attire Click Here

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Welcome to the KymryGroup™. We will be showcasing photography by several different photographers with a look in time from 1922 to the present. Share Business, Marketing, Podcasting, Technology of Photography. Including adventures in the birding world and many other interesting insights and observations along the way.
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1 Response to Christmas Bird Count History

  1. Ralph Amodei says:

    Mardi, Thanks for this insight into the Christmas bird counts. It is brief, precise and to the point. I would of guessed the New Haven Bird Count was the first one in CT. I’ll take Norwalk – no problem. I’m captain area J for the NHCBC. Ever need any help let me know. Ralph

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