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Volunteers can help conduct annual winter bird population surveys

Posted December 11, 2019

Enjoy a wildlife-viewing experience and help wildlife conservation at the same time by volunteering to help out in one or more Christmas Bird Count (CBC) events.

The count program is a winter bird population survey that has been coordinated annually by the National Audubon Society for over a century. This will be the 120th year for this fun and important event, which is the oldest ongoing citizen-science endeavor. For each count, volunteers (including those from the Arizona Game and Fish Department) will go afield for one calendar day between Dec. 14, 2019, and Jan. 5, 2020, to record every bird species and every individual bird sighted (and heard) within a designated 15-mile diameter circle.

Help is needed on most of these counts. Participants are typically assigned to teams based on their bird identification skills and endurance. Individual teams will survey their assigned section of the count circle throughout the day. Many count coordinators hold a compilation dinner at the end of the day where results are tabulated and stories shared.

The data collected will be added to an extensive database that enables monitoring of winter bird populations across North America and helps in assessing the overall health of the environment.

If you want to sign up for a Christmas Bird Count event, check out the map view of the circles expected to be included for this year’s count and zoom in to find a count near you. Green and yellow circles are open for new participants; red circles are already full. Online registration is not available, so please contact compilers by email using the information from the pop-ups on the map.

For general information about CBCs, visit

Here’s another way you can help wildlife conservation. Join the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s new Conservation Membership program and help ensure a wildlife legacy for the future.