Christmas Bird Count: Start a New Holiday Tradition

Learn more about a popular annual birdwatching tradition called the Christmas Bird Count. Plus, find out how to participate this year.

christmas bird countIrina Polyakova/Shutterstock
Start a new Christmas tradition—go birding!

People Around the World Join the Christmas Bird Count

Volunteers for the Christmas Bird Count meet up and search for birds in designated 15-mile circles across the United States, Canada and other international locations.

Plan a big day of birding to see more species, or join the Great Backyard Bird Count. Also follow our birdwatching tips for beginners if you want to start birding.

Psst! While you’re at it, discover some fun facts about the festive Christmas birds in the carol, too.

One Spot in Texas Was Tops for Birders

A total of 224 species were spotted at Texas’ Mad Island Marsh during 2020’s count, the most of any site in the United States or Canada.

Check out these winter birding hotspots to see incredible birds.

You Can Be a Participant in the Bird Count

You can join the birdwatching fun this year, too! Join the 123rd anniversary of the Christmas Bird Count from Dec. 14, 2022, through Jan. 5, 2023. Find more information on the Audubon website.

Gear up before the event! Consult our binoculars buying guide for every kind of birder.

The Bird Count Has a Long History

Lewis's Woodpeckerdrferry/Getty Images
Lewis’s woodpecker

Ornithologist Frank M. Chapman created the Christmas Bird Count in 1900 to bring more attention to conservation efforts. Some notable mentions from the 89 species recorded during the inaugural count include the wrentit, Lewis’s woodpecker and greater prairie-chicken.

Next, check out the best bird field guides for birders and nature field guides for outdoor explorers.

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Molly Jasinski
Molly Jasinski is a writer, editor and social media manager for Birds & Blooms. She enjoys watching the robins, cardinals and occasional goldfinch seen around her apartment.