Christmas Bird Count

If you're interested in joining either the Princeton Count or the Trenton Count


Contact Brad Merritt [email protected] or phone 609-921-8964 

"Skate Birding" helps gets birders up close to the action for censuses Christmas Bird Count Princeton

120th Annual Christmas Bird Count 

Sunday, December 15, 2019 (Princeton Count)
Saturday, December 28, 2019 (Trenton Count)

National Audubon Society urges volunteers in central New Jersey to participate in one of Audubon’s great traditions, the annual Christmas Bird Count. WCAS sponsors both the Princeton Count, which this year will be held on Sunday, December 15, and the Trenton Count, to be held this year on Saturday, December 28.

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the first Christmas Bird Count, when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by ornithologist Frank Chapman, changed the course of history. On Christmas Day 1900, the group initiated an alternative to the traditional holiday ‘side hunt,’ in which teams competed to see which could shoot the most birds. Instead of hunting, the group counted the birds they saw and founded a century-old institution.

Today, over 50,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific islands will count and record every individual bird and bird species encountered during one calendar day. About 1800 individual Christmas Bird Counts will be held during a two-and-a-half week period. Each count group has a designated circle 15 miles in diameter-about 177 square miles–where they try to cover as much ground as possible within a 24-hour calendar day.

Christmas Bird Count serves as an up-to-the-minute bird census. Counters catalogue every bird and bird species they see over one calendar day, from midnight to midnight. Growing in popularity since its inception, the count serves an important scientific function as well. Birds are one of the first groups of animals to be affected by environmental threats like pollution and habitat destruction, and CBC data provide indispensable information, not only on long-term health of bird populations, but also the status of the environment that birds share with all living things.

Apart from its attraction as a social, sporting, and competitive event, the annual count reveals interesting and scientifically useful information on the early-winter distribution patterns of various bird species and the over-all health of the environment.

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running ornithological database. It continues to grow in importance as a means to monitor the status of resident and migratory bird populations across the western hemisphere. The CBC is 100% volunteer generated data that, over the years, has become a crucial part of the United States Government’s natural history monitoring database. Count data from 1900 to the present are currently available through BirdSource (, a cooperative project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

All counts are open to birders of all skill levels. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964, or e-mail [email protected]

Christmas Bird Count 2018

Count Date: 12/16/2018
Participants: 71, Total Hrs.: 129.50
Partly cloudy, 39-48 deg. F, (heavy rain in AM)

  1. Accipiter sp.
  2. American Black Duck
  3. American Crow
  4. American Goldfinch
  5. American Kestrel (Northern)
  6. American Robin
  7. American Tree Sparrow
  8. American Wigeon
  9. Ash-throated Flycatcher
  10. Bald Eagle
  11. Belted Kingfisher
  12. Black Vulture
  13. Black-capped Chickadee
  14. Blue Jay
  15. Brown Creeper
  16. Brown Thrasher
  17. Brown-headed Cowbird
  18. Cackling Goose
  19. Canada Goose
  20. Carolina Chickadee
  21. Carolina Wren
  22. Cedar Waxwing
  23. chickadee sp.
  24. Common Grackle
  25. Common Merganser
  26. Common Raven
  27. Cooper’s Hawk
  28. crow sp.
  29. Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)
  30. Double-crested Cormorant
  31. Downy Woodpecker
  32. Eastern Bluebird
  33. Eastern Screech-Owl
  34. Eastern Towhee
  35. European Starling
  36. Field Sparrow
  37. Fish Crow
  38. Fox Sparrow
  39. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  40. Great Black-backed Gull
  41. Great Blue Heron (Blue form)
  42. Great Horned Owl
  43. Greater White-fronted Goose
  44. gull sp.
  45. Hairy Woodpecker
  46. hawk sp.
  47. Hermit Thrush
  48. Herring Gull
  49. Hooded Merganser
  50. House Finch
  51. House Sparrow
  52. Iceland Gull
  53. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  54. Lincoln’s Sparrow
  55. Mallard
  56. Merlin
  57. Mourning Dove
  58. Mute Swan
  59. Northern Cardinal
  60. Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
  61. Northern Harrier
  62. Northern Mockingbird
  63. Northern Pintail
  64. Northern Saw-whet Owl
  65. Pied-billed Grebe
  66. Pileated Woodpecker
  67. Purple Finch
  68. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  69. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  70. Red-shouldered Hawk
  71. Red-tailed Hawk
  72. Red-winged Blackbird
  73. Ring-billed Gull
  74. Ring-necked Duck
  75. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
  76. Rough-legged Hawk
  77. Ruddy Duck
  78. Savannah Sparrow
  79. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  80. Short-eared Owl
  81. Snow Goose
  82. Song Sparrow
  83. Swamp Sparrow
  84. Tufted Titmouse
  85. Turkey Vulture
  86. White-breasted Nuthatch
  87. White-crowned Sparrow
  88. White-throated Sparrow
  89. Wilson’s Snipe
  90. Winter Wren
  91. Wood Duck
  92. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  93. Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)