Citizen Science Projects

Finding the birds is often more challenging than counting them. This Eastern Screech Owl blends quietly into a tree cavity. Photo Vic Prislipsky

Finding the birds is often more challenging than counting them. This Eastern Screech Owl blends quietly into a tree cavity.
Photo Vic Prislipsky


Christmas Bird Count  

It's a simple thing. Count birds for one entire day, identify species, tally results and report to a national monitor - along with thousands of other citizens. Repeat the process annually for over a century.

That's Christmas Bird Count, the nation's longest-running citizen science bird project.  

The CBC data fuels Audubon science and environmental issues throughout the year, with a vast collection of information about early winter bird populations. Ornithologists and conservationists recognize the value of the work done by CBC observers and resulting studies have produced over 200 significant articles. Further, Audubon shares CBC data with U.S. federal agencies to help them form the basis for important decisions about birds.  

So, yes, this is important work.

HSV Audubon participates in the Christmas Bird Count in mid December
See Calendar of Events 
for this year's date and plans, including a nice dinner to summarize our numbers and celebrate our work.

2017 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Report

By Chris Cash,
Past President & CBC Chair

The 118th national/40th annual HSV Audubon CBC was held on Monday, December 18, 2017.  We had good weather, and fielded five teams (33 field birders) and 18 feeder bird counters.

Overall we counted 3896 birds with 82 identified species and 2 unidentified gull and tern species (a tern species in winter is always great!). There were also some unidentified sparrows and hawks (1 accipiter), but those species are not counted since we did identify other hawks and sparrows. Numbers were slightly down from 2016, but species count stayed stable. Fluctuations in population are not unusual as there can be sporadic irruptions of certain species. For example, almost 2000 Red-winged Blackbirds were counted in 2014 and last year we counted approximately 900 American Coots. Both of those unusually high counts skewed the results for those years. This years count was pretty average.

The high count for the day was the Dark-eyed Junco (452). Other notables were: 

  • American Goldfinch (310)
  • White-throated Sparrow (256) 
  • American Crow (200)
  • Cardinals (194) 
  • Canada Goose (180)
  • Tufted Titmouse (161)

We did not identify any rare birds, but did count some uncommon birds. A first for HSV Audubon's CBC was the Sedge Wren. Though not rare, it IS secretive and hard to see. Also uncommon were

  • American Pipit (12) 
  • Orange-crowned Warbler (1)
  • Roadrunner (1)

The count dinner was held the next day, December 19th, at Johnna's at The DeSoto Club. Food and service were excellent, and we all had a great time. The 2018 HSC Audubon CBC will be held Monday, December 17, 2018. Put it on your calendar along with the compilation dinner for Tuesday, December 18. Happy birding between now and then.

Great Backyard Bird Count & Project Feeder Watch

This Dark-eyed Junco is watching you, too!  Photo Vic Prislipsky

This Dark-eyed Junco is watching you, too! Photo Vic Prislipsky

It's easy, fun, free and beneficial. Join HSV Audubon, the National Audubon Society and Cornell University in another citizen science activity, the Great Backyard Bird Count or Project FeederWatch

"Participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during and after the count.
Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded."   - National Audubon Society

Recent observations have helped scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology discover a correlation between snowfall and robin distribution: They don't like snow covers of more than 5 inches. 

You can find other citizen science projects at
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

For more information about birds, the landscape and the environment, check out National Audubon Society, the EPA and
the American Bird Conservancy.


Climate Watch. So Easy. So Important.

We focus on bluebirds and nuthatches. Eastern Bluebird, male,  Photo    by Curt Carlson.

We focus on bluebirds and nuthatches. Eastern Bluebird, male, Photo by Curt Carlson.

Climate change is the biggest threat to birds around the world.

You can help by counting climate-threatened species.

Over half of North American bird species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080, according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report. 

Climate Watch aims to document species’ responses to climate change by having volunteers in the field look for birds where National Audubon’s climate models project they should be in the 2020s. 

HSV Audubon will participate by tracking and reporting on:

  • bluebirds and nuthatches  
  • teams of 2 people, 6 locations for each team
  • total 48 specific locations (most are on a golf course) 
  • stay for 5 minutes at each location
  • twice a year

Contact Carolyn Minson, Climate Watch Chairperson, 501-984-1210

Fun for everyone - novice to expert.