Westport, CT CBC Christmas Bird Count Sunday, December 18, 2016
This year is the 70th Annual Westport Christmas Bird Count, and the 117th anniversary of the National Audubon CBC concept. This fall has been pretty exciting for Connecticut birders with a number of unusual species being seen in our area. CBC participants are looking forward to finding the unusual and the commonplace too, as all birds count on a CBC.
The CBC tradition has volunteer bird watchers at all levels of experience spend all or part of one day, around the Holiday season, going out into the field in various locations within the local Count Circle. Teams of observers will canvas many local hot spots. The object is to identify and count each species of bird they see and to record how many of each type they see in one day.
The Westport CT CBC Christmas Bird Count is conducted during a 24-hour period (rain, sleet, snow, or shine) from midnight to midnight, Sunday, December 18th, 2016. The intent of the count is to locate, identify, and count all wild birds found within a 15-mile diameter count circle, centered at Westport’s twin Bridges on Route 57. The Westport Count also includes Norwalk, Weston, Easton, Fairfield and New Canaan. Small groups of birdwatchers, led by a Captain, scour pre-assigned territories in order to maximize coverage. Others conduct backyard feeder counts in the same areas. Data collected (as well as totals from 17 other counts in Connecticut) is submitted to the National Audubon Society.
Count participants (observers) range in birding ability from pigeon-feeders to “Olympic Champions”. ALL ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE. Westport CBC Count Week is Thursday 12/15 through Wednesday 12/21. Generally experienced birders are paired with those who have less experience. Most observers start looking for birds at sunrise (7am), but some go out several hours earlier searching for owls and rails. Some make a daylong affair, others participants for just two or three hours. Field activity tends to wind down at sundown.
Remember the CBC is supposed to be fun, so stay safe. Drive carefully; watch your step, stay off private property unless arrangements have been made, wear appropriate clothing and footwear. If you are just getting started in birding or have tons of experience and think you want to join a CBC field team.
Backyard Feeder Counts: Some birders also choose to stay home, but they too can participate by observing their backyard bird feeders and counting local visitors. These counts have certain guidelines but are welcome additions to the science that 113 years of continuous data collection supported by the National Audubon Society. Feeder forms can be obtained by going to Backyard Feeder Form.
The CBC results are published in AMERICAN BIRDS online magazine along with the input from 1700 other counts conducted nationwide and throughout the Americas. This is the longest running annual census of bird populations in the country, thanks to the some 44,000 thousand birdwatchers who volunteer their efforts.
After the count this year CBC observers then will gather at 6pm to tally the results and join in on a potluck dinner celebration to discuss the highlights of the day.