Christmas Bird Count

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

118th Annual Christmas Bird Count 

Sunday, December 17, 2017 (Princeton Count)
December 30, 2017 (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 17, and the Trenton Count, to be held this year on Saturday, December 30.

This year marks the 118th 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

Christmas Bird Count 2016 species list (replace)

  1. Greater White-fronted Goose
  2. Snow Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mute Swan
  5. Wood Duck
  6. Gadwall
  7. American Wigeon
  8. American Black Duck
  9. Mallard
  10. Northern Shoveler
  11. Northern Pintail
  12. Green-winged Teal
  13. Ring-necked Duck
  14. Lesser Scaup
  15. Bufflehead
  16. Common Goldeneye
  17. Hooded Merganser
  18. Common Merganser
  19. Ruddy Duck
  20. Ring-necked Pheasant
  21. Ruffed Grouse
  22. Wild Turkey
  23. Pied-billed Grebe
  24. Double-crested Cormorant
  25. Great Blue Heron
  26. Black Vulture
  27. Turkey Vulture
  28. Bald Eagle (Ad. or Imm.?)
  29. Northern Harrier
  30. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  31. Cooper’s Hawk
  32. Northern Goshawk
  33. Accipter SP
  34. Red-shouldered Hawk
  35. Red-tailed Hawk
  36. Rough-legged Hawk
  37. American Kestrel
  38. Merlin
  39. Peregrine Falcon
  40. American Coot
  41. Killdeer
  42. Wilson’s Snipe
  43. American Woodcock
  44. Ring-billed Gull
  45. Herring Gull
  46. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  47. Great Black-backed Gull
  48. Rock Pigeon
  49. Mourning Dove
  50. Eastern Screech-Owl
  51. Great Horned Owl
  52. Barred Owl
  53. Long-eared Owl
  54. Belted Kingfisher
  55. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  56. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  57. Downy Woodpecker
  58. Hairy Woodpecker
  59. Northern Flicker
  60. Pileated Woodpecker
  61. Eastern Phoebe
  62. Blue Jay
  63. American Crow
  64. Fish Crow
  65. Horned Lark
  66. Carolina Chickadee
  67. Black-capped Chickadee
  68. Chickadee SP
  69. Tufted Titmouse
  70. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  71. White-breasted Nuthatch
  72. Brown Creeper
  73. Carolina Wren
  74. Winter Wren
  75. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  76. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  77. Eastern Bluebird
  78. Hermit Thrush
  79. American Robin
  80. Gray Catbird
  81. Northern Mockingbird
  82. Brown Thrasher
  83. European Starling
  84. American Pipit
  85. Cedar Waxwing
  86. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  87. Pine Warbler
  88. Eastern Towhee
  89. American Tree Sparrow
  90. Field Sparrow
  91. Savannah Sparrow
  92. Fox Sparrow
  93. Song Sparrow
  94. Swamp Sparrow
  95. White-throated Sparrow
  96. White-crowned Sparrow
  97. Dark-eyed Junco
  98. Northern Cardinal
  99. Red-winged Blackbird
  100. Eastern Meadowlark
  101. Rusty Blackbird
  102. Common Grackle
  103. Brown-headed Cowbird
  104. Purple Finch
  105. House Finch
  106. Pine Siskin
  107. American Goldfinch
  108. House Sparrow