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By Yousif Attia (Christmas Bird Count Coordinator) and Liza Barney (Education Program Coordinator), Bird Studies Canada


The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) and Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) have become a winter tradition for thousands of Canadians. This upcoming season marks the 120th year for the CBC, and the 10th year for the CBC4Kids in Canada. Everyone is welcome, from the most novice birder to the most seasoned expert. Participants are also invited to take part in our CBC photo contest!

Christmas Bird Count
CBCs are a fun way to spend time in the great outdoors with friends, family, and of course, the birds. Not only that, but did you know that your CBC results are being used to support conservation? You may have heard about a recent article in the journal Science on research that used data from Citizen Science programs, including the CBC, to estimate trends in bird populations. The results suggest that the size of North America’s bird population has decreased by nearly three billion birds compared to only 50 years ago! Although this news is frightening, the birds would have been worse off had these changes not been documented. Your contributions as a CBC volunteer strengthen this program, which is used to inform environmental planning and research, and ultimately promotes conservation of birds and their ecosystems. Thank you to all the participants, compilers, and regional editors who dedicate their time and effort towards conservation in this way.

Trumpeter Swans Photo: Harvey Thommasen

Getting involved is easy! Find a local count (or two, or three), contact the circle compiler, and count birds on your circle’s count day, which will fall between December 14th and January 5th. You even have the option of counting the birds in your own yard, from the comfort of your home. Visit Bird Studies Canada’s website to find a count near you or contact the Canadian CBC Coordinator at if there is not yet a count in your area.

Speaking of the Canadian CBC Coordinator, Liz Purves has moved on to a new role at Bird Studies Canada as Director of Ontario Programs. Our thanks to Liz for her years of dedicated management of the CBC. Stepping in as the new coordinator is Yousif Attia. Yousif is really looking forward to working with all of you – from regional editors to field counters – who make this program so successful and unique.

Yousif Attia

Christmas Bird Count for Kids
The well-loved Christmas Bird Count has inspired a youth version of the winter tradition, the Christmas Bird Count for Kids. The first CBC4Kids event, originating out of Sonoma Nature in California in 2007, aimed to introduce more youth and families to the fun of birdwatching and Citizen Science. Birds Studies Canada joined on as the Canadian partner in 2010, and with the involvement of hundreds of enthusiastic coordinators, the CBC4Kids has grown across North America.

Join us in celebrating 10 years of CBC4Kids in Canada by coordinating or attending an event in your area! CBC4Kids events are an exciting way for youth to explore winter birds, build identification and monitoring skills, and connect with their local birding community. Last season, 133 bird species were reported from 69 CBC4Kids events across Canada! (Click here to see the full 2018-19 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 coordinate 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: @BirdsCanada_Ed 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.

CBC4Kids in Haines Junction, YT. Photo: Julie Bauer

Christmas Bird Count Photo Contest
Bird Studies Canada is once again holding the CBC Photo Contest. All you have to do is share your favourite memories from the 120th (2019-2020) Christmas Bird Count or Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids)! Click here for 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 (PO Box 160, 115 Front St., Port Rowan, ON, Canada N0E 1M0) with a note that the funds are for the Christmas Bird Count and CBC4Kids. We appreciate your support!

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