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By Liz Purves (Ontario Aerial Insectivore Program Manager) and Liza Barney (Education Program Coordinator), Bird Studies Canada

Photo: Rich Doucette

The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) are great ways to bring friends, family, and community members together to enjoy and explore nature in the winter. Whether you are an experienced or novice birder, you can join in by tallying birds in the field or in your very own backyard. NEW this year, CBC4Kids participants are also invited to take part in our CBC photo contest!
Christmas Bird Count
The 119th Christmas Bird Count is just around the corner! The CBC is an annual winter birding tradition that began in 1900, making it North America’s longest-running Citizen Science project. Each year, volunteer groups complete over 2000 counts across the Western Hemisphere.  Each count takes place on a day from December 14 to January 5.
Last year in Canada alone, 14,000 participants counted 2.8 million individual birds in almost 500 counts across the country. Many CBCs have been run by volunteer groups for decades, contributing valuable data on local, regional, and national trends and distributions of winter bird populations. CBC results are used in conservation planning and research. You can read last year’s summaries for Canada and for your region on Audubon’s website. Thank you to the thousands of participants, compilers, and regional editors who dedicate their time and effort to count birds for conservation in Canada.
If you would like to join a CBC flock, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website to find a count near you. If you’d like to start a new count in your area, contact the Canadian Christmas Bird Count Coordinator at
Christmas Bird Count for Kids
The Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) shares the fun of the traditional CBC with new generations of young birders across North America. Coordinated nationally by Bird Studies Canada, CBC4Kids events are hosted by naturalist groups across the country as an exciting way for youth to explore winter birds, build identification and monitoring skills, and connect with local birding communities. Last season, 142 bird species were reported from 58 CBC4Kids events across Canada! See more details in our 2017-18 season summary.
There are many ways to include young birders in the fun of the Christmas Bird Count season:

  1. Consider including young birders in a route or section of your Christmas Bird Count circle.
  2. Host a CBC4Kids event at your local nature centre or outdoor space.
  3. Lead a CBC4kids bird walk at school with your students or nature club.
  4. Find a CBC4Kids event near you and participate with friends and family!

You can find all of the resources you need to plan a CBC4Kids event or bird walk on our CBC4Kids webpage.
Connect with us to learn more, promote your event, and share your event highlights!
Twitter: @BSC_Education and #CBC4Kids
Facebook: Christmas Bird Count for Kids Group
In Canada, the Christmas Bird Count for Kids is supported nationally by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Armstrong Bird Food. The CBC4Kids was established in the U.S. by Sonoma Birding in 2007. Bird Studies Canada is the Canadian partner.
CBC and CBC4Kids Photo Contest
You could win great prizes by sharing your photos from this season’s CBC or CBC4Kids! Check out the contest details.
Support the Christmas Bird Count
Bird Studies Canada relies on donations to keep the CBC and CBC4Kids tradition alive in Canada. Your generous gift supports national coordination, data collection, and analysis – and you’ll receive a charitable tax receipt. Please donate online or mail a cheque to Bird Studies Canada with a note that the funds are for the Christmas Bird Count and CBC4Kids. We appreciate your support!

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