Early Results from the 2018 Christmas Bird Count

Robin. Photo by Raj Das

On January 2, top-notch birders from the region gathered at SVT's Wolbach Farm to compile the data that the Concord Circle gathered during this year's Christmas Bird Count on December 30. Here are some interesting tidbits:

  1. Volunteer birders saw 88 different species and a whopping total of 52,518 birds. Both numbers were higher than usual, and the group attributed this to two factors: warmer conditions AND better birders participating.
     
  2. One of the key reasons for the high population count was the observation of a HUGE roost of robins with an estimated 18,000 birds. What? Robins in winter? Robins are becoming increasingly common in colder months as they can live off fruiting trees that hold onto fruit (such as crab apples) through the winter. Robins will gather together in a "roost" in the winter, finding strength in numbers to fend off hungry predators.
     
  3. This was a record year for bald eagles and red-shouldered hawks. The return of these magnificent birds of prey is undoubtedly the direct result of environmental protections that came from the banning of DDT in the 1960s, and in the case of the bald eagle, being protected under the Endangered Species Act until 2007.

When the Concord Circle finishes tallying and evaluating its results, they'll be available at www.concordcbc.org.

About the Christmas Bird Count

For more than 100 years, the National Audubon Society has conducted a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) to help researchers understand how the birds of the Americas are faring. Thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and other Western Hemisphere participate in this annual census and count birds over a 24-hour period. 

The CBC is divided into hundreds of “count circles,” each of which selects its own count day between mid-December and early January. Everyone is invited to participate in this citizen science project, but you must join an official "count circle" for your results to be counted. Participants can either join a field party or stay in the warmth of their homes and count visitors to a bird feeder.

SVT participates in the Concord Circle of the CBC. To learn more about the project, read our December 2017 Spotlight article on Norm Levey and the Concord Christmas Bird Count.