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Local birding groups prepare to host the annual Christmas Bird Count

Jamie Richie/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In just a couple weeks, local birders will grab their binoculars and cameras and head out to join Christmas Bird Counts all over the First State.

Experienced and first-time birders are invited to help contribute to the annual bird survey, which was started by the Audubon Society 116 years ago.


“It’s a wonderful chance for some of the beginners to mix with experienced people, and just go out and really enjoy the birds," said Dave Carter, president of the Delaware Audubon Society. "They also get a little bit of a reward in knowing that the time they spent will be used to help a lot of other conservation efforts.”

At each site, volunteers tally up their observations within an established 15-mile diameter circle over the course of a day. What’s collected by volunteers is added to an online database that helps inform conservation efforts. Carter says that in recent years, they’ve seen trends that reflect changes in environmental conditions, suchas the increase in bald eagles in Delaware due to tightened controls on DDT.


Last year, the Christmas Bird Count data helped Audubon publish a major report that showed that 314 bird species--about half of the bird species in the U.S.--are threatened by climate change. Carter says decades of citizen science made it possible to put out such important scientific findings.

“It couldn’t happen without the tens of thousands of people who go out, enjoy birds and count them. And submit that data and make it possible for scientists to have the database they need to make their decisions," said Carter.

Carter will be giving a presentation on the Christmas Bird Count this coming Monday, December 7 at the Brandywine Hundred Library in Wilmington. The Christmas bird counts are international events involving over 60,000 participants in more than 20 countries. In Delaware, the counts will take place between December 14 and January 5 in various locations.



Scheduled Christmas Bird Counts to date:


Wilmington – Saturday, December 19  

Contact: Jim White,


Bombay Hook – Sunday, December 20  

Contact: Andy Ednie,


Middletown – Sunday, December 27  (includes a beginners' count) 

Contact: Anthony Gonzon,

Beginners CBC Contact: Dave Carter,


Rehoboth – Saturday, January 2   

Contact: Sally O’Byrne,


Cape Henlopen/Prime Hook – Sunday, January 3   

Contact: Frank Rohrbacher,



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