Christmas Bird Count

christmas-bird-count-transparentThe Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is a census of birds in the Western Hemisphere, performed annually in the early Northern-hemisphere winter by volunteer birdwatchers and administered by the National Audubon Society.  The purpose is to provide population data for use in science, especially conservation biology, though many people participate for recreation.

 

Counts can be held on any day from December 14 to January 5 inclusive.

The Anchorage Audubon Society generally tries to hold its’ annual CBC during the third week of December.

Celebrated in song and story (and movies!), the annual Christmas Bird Count is a fun way to get out and enjoy a little of what nature has to offer, while shaking off those mid winter “blahs” we from Anchorage face during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Who doesn’t need a little bit of exercise mid-winter?  And its’ entirely enjoyable for kids of all ages, including even adults!

The 2017 CBC will be held on December 16, 2017.


 

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 15, 2018


Christmas Bird Count 2018 and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:30 PM

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2018

Anchorage Audubon Society sponsors the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count each year in December. Anchorage is divided into 5 Areas and those areas are further divided into teams, each led by an experienced birder.

Read the rest

Christmas Bird Count – 2017 Preliminary Results

Hi Society!

2017 Christmas Bird Count Preliminary Results

 

We have the preliminary results for the 2017 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Saturday, December 16, 2017.  It’s long, but we’ll give it a try.

What a Christmas Bird Count! The preliminary results are in, but please be advised that these results will change as the final data is tabulated, and our view of the results is based on very early and largely un-analyzed data. But what a day!

This year, counters found FIFTY-FIVE SPECIES, which exceeds the previous all time high of 52 species set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES. Holy Smokes!

The total number of birds seen was 10,627 which is above the mean number of 8,155, but is far below the record number of 30,606. The record number is of course dependent on highly inruptive species such as Bohemian Waxwings and Common Redpolls which have reached as many as 22,000 and 8,000 birds respectively in certain years.

2017 ANC CBC - # of Species

 

The great news is that ELEVEN species were at their all-time High: Northern Shoveler (2), Harlequin Duck (2), Bufflehead (2), Rock Pigeon (1209), Hermit Thrush (1), Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Red-breasted Nuthatch (512), American Dipper (48), Robins (406), Song Sparrow (1), and Sharp-tailed Grouse (1).

Birds at an almost all-time high were Gray Jays, Steller’s Jays, Rock Ptarmigan, and unfortunately European Starlings.

Species with a below average showing included Common Goldeneyes, Dark-eyed Juncos, Pine Grosbeaks, and Common Redpolls. Species looking way below average were Bohemian Waxwings, White-winged Crossbills, and Pine Siskins.

Our 55 species seen compares to a mean number of 33, and as usual, there were a number of species represented by only ONE single sighting of one individual. This is fairly usual, but the number was high this year with 17 of 51 species being represented by only one individual. Those single sightings were: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Merlin, Gyrfalcon, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Wilson’s Snipe, Great Horned Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Pacific Wren, Short-eared Owl, and Hoary Redpoll.

New birds to the count were the Hermit Thrush, Northern Shoveler, and the Sharp-tailed Grouse. The Sharp-tailed Grouse was the highlight of the day since it was also the FIRST RECORD of that species ever seen in Anchorage.

Here’s how that happened:

Visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife were walking the Coastal Trail between Elderberry Park and Westchester Lagoon. The Grouse walked across the trail in front of them. They thought it was unusual, but because they are not from Anchorage, they did not realize what a stunning bird they had stumbled upon.

They called Area 2 Leader Andrew Fisher who called W. Keys. Between them, they realized that there was a very good reason that they were shouting to each other on the phone. Word went back to Michael who re-found the bird, and word went out to birders across town. The stampede to the spot was on.

From her deck, the lady whose yard it had chosen said, “It’s been here for about 3 weeks. I’ve been feeding it and thought it was some kind of ptarmigan.

It was a fabulous day, and the Tally Party and Chili Feed was a stellar event as well. Ginormous thanks go to everyone who participated in the Count, to everyone who brought dishes to the Potluck, to the Area Leaders for coordinating their teams, to Keith Confer who worked tirelessly to make the Tally Spreadsheet clear and concise, and to Louann Feldmann who once again organized the entire city-wide Christmas Bird Count effort. She is nothing less than a Citizen Science Goddess!

And finally, we can’t heap enough praise on visiting birder Michael Woodruff and his wife who not only found the Sharp-tailed Grouse, but also turned up the single Song Sparrow and the single Snow Bunting in the same immediate area!

2017 ANC CBC - # of Individuals

 

Data from the Anchorage Count follows below, and is sorted according to the number of each species seen.  The Tally Party and Chili Feed was a fabulous get-together, and we’d like to thank the First Congregational Church, Lynn Barber, and Louann Feldmann for making the evening possible.

Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Andrew Fisher, Daria Carle, Tom Evans, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Coordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many, many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

The total species seen are listed here from most prevalent to least prevalent. This year’s total exceeds the all-time record of 52 set in 1984 by THREE SPECIES!

 

Black-capped Chickadee 1874
Mallard 1320
Rock Pigeon 1209
Bohemian Waxwing 1166
Common Redpoll 799
Black-billed Magpie 708
Common Raven 652
European Starling 601
Red-breasted Nuthatch 512
Pine Grosbeak 482
American Robin 406
Boreal Chickadee 337
Steller’s Jay 109
Downy Woodpecker 55
Redpoll Species 53
American Dipper 48
Golden-crowned Kinglet 38
White-winged Crossbill 28
Gray Jay 25
Hairy Woodpecker 23
Gray-crowned Rosy Finch 20
Dark-eyed Junco 19
Bald Eagle 16
Willow Ptarmigan 16
Pine Siskin 14
Common Goldeneye 13
Common Merganser 13
Brown Creeper 8
Northern Shrike 7
Northern Goshawk 6
Rock Ptarmigan 5
Townsend’s Solitaire 3
Northern Shoveler 2
Harlequin Duck 2
Bufflehead 2
Spruce Grouse 2
Am. Three-toed Woodpecker 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Green-winged Teal 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Gyrfalcon 1
Sharp-tailed Grouse 1
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Short-eared Owl 1
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Saw-whet Owl 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Pacific Wren 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Varied Thrush 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
White-crowned Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Snow Bunting 1
Hoary Redpoll 1
Total # of Species 55
Total # of Individuals Birds 10627

 

As seen during the Tally Party, graphs have been made of each species on a per year basis since the count began.  These graphs are available for viewing via the following link:

Graphs of Species by Year (click on this link)

Results will be made final once all sightings have been fully vetted, so please consider these results as preliminary for the time being.

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 16, 2017


Christmas Bird Count 2017 and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:30 PM

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2017

Anchorage Audubon Society sponsors the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count each year in December. Anchorage is divided into 5 Areas and those areas are further divided into teams, each led by an experienced birder.

Read the rest

Christmas Bird Count – 2016 Results

Hi Society!

2016 Christmas Bird Count Results

 

We finally have the results for the 2016 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Saturday, December 17, 2016.

We’re sorry for the delay in reporting.  It took us awhile to undo the damage done to the Anchorage Audubon CBC database by Russian hackers.

Our Anchorage teams of Christmas Counters located 37 species of birds on count day with one additional “count week” species (a Short-eared Owl!) being reported bringing the total number of species seen during count week to 38 species .  The total number of individual birds spotted was 20,739.

This graph shows that the 2016 CBC was perhaps a little bit below our previous fifteen year average which appears to be “about” 40-42 species (give or take), but what we lacked in quantity, we MORE than made up for in the “quality” department….with two 1st ever Anchorage CBC records including a Song Sparrow (1st ever Anchorage CBC record), the American Kestrel (again 1st ever Anchorage CBC record), and a Pacific Wren (2nd ever Anchorage CBC record) following the 1st ever Anchorage CBC record in 2015.

Of the 38 species observed during count week, 7 species were represented by only ONE individual being sighted.  Bohemian Waxwings were once again the most numerous birds found with 7,857 seen (compared to the 54 year average of 3,851).  Common Redpolls made an impressive showing this year with 3,227 seen (compared to the 56 year average of 1,425), which landed them in second place for numbers sighted as well as Black-capped Chickadees with 2,085 seen (compared to a 57 year average of 893), which landed them in third place.

Data from the Anchorage Count follows below, and is sorted according to the number of each species seen.  The Tally Party and Chili Feed was a fabulous get-together, and we’d like to thank the First Congregational Church, Lynn Barber, and Louann Feldmann for making the evening possible.

Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Andrew Fisher, Daria Carle, Tom Evans, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Coordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many, many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

Anchorage continues to be a Rock Star of Christmas Bird Counts.  For the 2014 CBC, of the 2,408 count circles reporting, Anchorage had the 24th highest participation in the USA!!  This is not a per-capita number, it’s based on total participants.  We rock, and here’s what we saw for the 2016 CBC:

Bohemian Waxwing 7,857
Common Redpoll 3,227
Black-capped Chickadee 2,305
Mallard 1,302
European Starling 1,084
Rock Pigeon 841
Black-billed Magpie 753
Common Raven 697
White-winged Crossbill 638
Pine Grosbeak 600
Red-breasted Nuthatch 457
Boreal Chickadee 331
American Robin 193
Steller’s Jay 96
Downy Woodpecker 60
American Dipper 46
Golden-crowned Kinglet 45
Brown Creeper 31
Hairy Woodpecker 30
Bald Eagle 29
Dark-eyed Junco 27
Common Merganser 22
Pine Siskin 12
White-tailed Ptarmigan 10
Northern Shrike 9
Gray Jay 8
White-crowned Sparrow 8
Northern Goshawk 6
Great Horned Owl 5
Am. Three-toed Woodpecker 3
Common Goldeneye 1
Red-breasted Merganser 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Spruce Grouse 1
Pacific Wren 1
Song Sparrow 1
Short-eared Owl (count week) 1

As seen during the Tally Party, graphs have been made of each species on a per year basis since the count began.  These graphs are available for viewing via the following link:

Graphs of Species by Year (click on this link)

The graphs total about 1 megabyte (1 MB), so they aren’t small, but nor are they large, representing about 1/700 of a typical movie available for streaming on the various movie streaming services on the web.  So you choose the fun – the number of species recorded during the last 50 or so years of the Anchorage CBC, or 10-1/2 seconds of the movie “Dumb and Dumber”.

We’ve actually spotted what looks to be a data error in the historical data based upon these graphs.  If you can spot it, please let us know, as we’ll definitely put YOU on the short list for our anti-Russian hacking team we are assembling!

Christmas Bird Count – Saturday, December 17, 2016


Christmas Bird Count and Tally Potluck Chili Feed

 at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd – 5:00 PM

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2016

This year’s count will be Satchristmas-bird-count-transparenturday, December 17th followed by the Tally Party and Chili Feed Potluck at the First Congregational Church, 2610 E. Northern Lights Blvd. just east of Lake Otis. 

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Christmas Bird Count – December 2015

WELCOME TO THE ANCHORAGE AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2015

This year’s count will be Sunday December 19th followed by the Tally Party and Chili Feed Potluck at the UAA Student Union Cafeteria (same place as last year).

To sign up:   Register as a participant in the 2015 Christmas Bird Count at the National Audubon Christmas Bird Count site, www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count. Participation is free but National Audubon is always happy to accept an on line donation to continue their important work.… Read the rest

Christmas Bird Count – 2014 Results

Hi Society, Christmas Bird Count Summary

We finally have the preliminary results for the 2014 Anchorage Christmas Bird Count which was held on Sunday, December 14.

President-for-Life keeps the unruly crowd at bay with his dapper delivery of the Tally Results

President-for-Life keeps the unruly crowd at bay with his dapper delivery of the Tally Results

We’re sorry for the delay in reporting.  One of the reporting areas had a software problem which corrupted their data.  We suspect this was caused by North Korean hackers, and the FBI is looking into the case as this is being written.

Our Anchorage teams of Christmas Counters located 44 species of birds with one additional “count week” species (an American Wigeon) being reported.  The total number of birds spotted was 10,147.

Early crowd...anxious to begin feeding...

Early crowd…anxious to begin feeding…

Of the 45 species observed, 12 species were represented by only ONE individual being sighted.  Bohemian Waxwings were once again the most numerous birds found.  White-winged Crossbills made an impressive showing this year with 847 seen, which landed them in fifth place for numbers sighted.

The most unusual sightings this year were the Cackling Goose, the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and the Red Crossbills.  The Cackling Goose has been well substantiated, but the Chickadee and the Crossbills are being reviewed according to the standard Rare Bird procedure for the Christmas Bird Count.

Yummmmm!  Chili!

Yummmmm! Chili!

Data from the Anchorage Count follows below, and is sorted according to the number of each species seen.  The Tally Party and Chili Feed was a fabulous get-together, and we’d like to thanks UAA’s Mike McCormick and Dana Sample for making the evening possible.  Also worthy of our highest praise are Area Leaders Thede Tobish, Aaron Bowman, Craig Wiese, Dick Prentki, and Pat Pourchot;  Chief Co-ordinator Louann Feldmann;  and all of the many many counters and feeder watchers who provided the data for this year’s count.

Area leader Aaron Bowman received late tally results from one his field commanders

Area leader Aaron Bowman received late tally results from one his field commanders

Anchorage continues to be a Rock Star of Christmas Bird Counts.  Last year, of the 2,408 count circles reporting, Anchorage had the 24th highest participation in the USA!!  This is not a per capita number–it’s based on total participants.  We rock, and here’s what we saw this year:

Bohemian Waxwing                  6930
Black-capped Chickadee         2085
Common Redpoll                      1562
Mallard                                      1079
White-winged Crossbill              847
Black-billed Magpie                    689
Common Raven                         663
Rock Pigeon                               395
Pine Grosbeak                           390
Red-breasted Nuthatch              356
European Starling                         305
Boreal Chickadee                         292
Steller’s Jay                                 113
Dark-eyed Junco                           90
American Robin                            86
Downy Woodpecker                      54
American Dipper                           41
Bald Eagle                                     24
Hairy Woodpecker                         24
Red Crossbill                                 20
Common Goldeneye                      17
Gray Jay                                         17
White-crowned Sparrow                  9
Common Merganser                        3
Red-breasted Merganser                  3
Northern Shrike                               3
Snow Bunting                                  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk                       2
American Three-toed Woodpecker    2
Brown Creeper                                2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet                    2
Pine Siskin                                       2
Cackling Goose                               1
Green-winged Teal                          1
Northern Goshawk                          1
Great Horned Owl                           1
Northern Saw-whet Owl                  1
Northern Flicker                               1
Northwestern Crow                          1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee             1
Golden-crowned Kinglet                  1
Varied Thrush                                   1
Hoary Redpoll                                  1
American Wigeon                             1 cw

Christmas Bird Count – December 2014

Join us for the Anchorage Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 14!

This year’s Anchorage Christmas Bird Count will happen on Sunday, December 14, and once again, it’s FREE!  For the second time ever, UAA will host our After-The-Count Party and Tally in the Student Union Cafeteria. It’s a fabulous day of counting birds, a delectable Chili Feed, and a Rollicking Good Time!

So here’s what you have to do to join the fun:  
    FIRST, call your Area Leader.  Area maps and leader contact info are on our website at http://www.anchorageaudubon.org/content/view/35/60/.   If you cannot reach your area leader, Contact Louann Feldmann at louannf@alaska.net  The area leader will give you information about where that particular team will meet on Sunday, December 14, and what you need to do.  We will do everything possible to place inexperienced counters with veteran groups.

SECOND:  SIGN UP IN ADVANCE.  There is NO FEE this year, but it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to sign up in advance.  In the past, each participant has received a Christmas Bird Count magazine in the fall that details the findings of the CBC for the entire Continent.  This year, the Count Re-cap will only be available electronically, and you will only receive it if your email is submitted through the sign-up process.  Please do NOT but the burden of signing yourself up in the lap of your area leader.  Sign up at  http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/

THIRD:  Come to the party at the UAA Student Union Cafeteria.  The party starts at 4:30.  The Audubon Board will bring a fine assortment of chilis, toppings, and cornbread.  Please bring a dessert or side dish to share.  Park in front of the UAA Bookstore, and enter at the bookstore.   
        FOURTH:  If you’re out counting, wear as many layers as you own.  Even driving teams will have all the vehicle windows down in order to hear anything that’s stirring.

And here’s the cool part.  Anchorage is always at the TOP of the list of national participants in the CBC.  This is not based on per capita–we have one of the highest absolute numbers of counters.  Last year, Anchorage logged the EIGHTH HIGHEST number of participants in the entire United States.  WE beat out New York, LA, Chicago, San Diego, and oodles more.  We totally rocked the Christmas Bird Count.  We hope you’ll join us so we can do it again.

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an organized continent-wide survey that documents every bird seen on a given day from sunrise to sunset. Since the turn of the 20th century, the Christmas Bird Count has contributed to the knowledge base of wintering birds in North America. This information is also important to allow scientists to detect fluctuations and trends of birds over a period of years. The count is an all-day event open to anyone wishing to participate. This is an excellent opportunity for novice bird watchers to join with seasoned veterans and learn more about identifying and finding the local birds. Home feeder-watchers are also needed. I would like to particularly encourage anyone with feeders in the Anchorage area who can spare at least one hour to watch their feeders to participate. The Christmas Bird Count is online with data from 1900 to the present at www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/index.html.

Participants are typically assigned to one of five areas in the Anchorage bowl (see map below) and will be assgined to a team based on their bird identification skill level and endurance.   THIS YEAR, count participation is FREE.  It is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, however, that all field observers SIGN UP IN ADVANCE at  http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/  select login. The username to logon to the site has typically been your email address or if you are new in the system you will need to set up a new username and password.  The reference code for the Anchorage CBC is “AKAN”.

We invite you to join us after the count at the UAA STUDENT UNION CAFETERIA for chili, hot drinks and a dessert potluck gathering beginning at 4:30 pm. We provide the chili and hot drinks but please feel free to bring a yummy dessert! This is a great time to socialize with other birders and watch as the final tally of each area’s results is tabulated. If you can’t make it on the 14th, please consider doing a Christmas Bird Count in another community. If you are interested in participating in the Anchorage CBC or would like further information, please contact the appropriate area leader listed below or Louann at louannf@alaska.net

 

cbcmap_delapp.jpg

Area  Leader  E-mail  Phone
 1  Lee Tibbitts  ltibbitts@usgs.gov  786-7038
 Thede Tobish  TobishTG@ci.anchorage.ak.us  343-7918
 2  Aaron Bowman ampbowman@gmailcom  343-9947
 3  Craig Wiese  cswiese@gci.net  563-0311
 4  Dick Prentki  Prentki@acsalaska.net  333-4201
 5  Pat Pourchot  pat@pourchot.com  258-3003

Anchorage Audubon PDF of Christmas Bird Count map

Results

Anchorage 2011 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2010 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2009 Christmas Bird Count Results

Anchorage 2008 Christmas Bird Count Results