Christmas is not only a time for family get togethers and extending best wishes and generosity, the period between December 14th and January 5this the time when bird watchers (birders) assemble for their annual Christmas Bird Counts. This year, Islanders and visitors have an opportunity to participate in four bird counts either at their home feeder if they live within one of the 24 km diameter circles or in the field as a member of a count team.
There are four Christmas Bird Counts scheduled for PEI, namely: the East Point CBC on
December 15th ; the PEI National Park Count on December 16th, the Hillsborough CBC on
December 26th, and the Montague CBC on December 30th. It is winter and the counts are weather dependent so any of these might be rescheduled should storms intervene. If you are interested in a particular count, please contact the volunteer coordinator for the area through Nature PEI at
Christmas Bird Counts are run across Canada and the United States, as well as in Latin America, the Caribbean, and some Pacific Islands. Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society help coordinate and support the efforts of more than 2,500 counts throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Beside the fun of watching and listening for birds, the number of birds of each species seen or heard during these four counts are published in Nature PEI’s Island Naturalist newsletter and the data for the first three counts are submitted to Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society for online access. The data from this year’s surveys will be added to the data from the previous 118 years, They form an invaluable data set on bird population trends in North America.
The Hillsborough Count has been conducted for the past 46 years, the PEI National Park Count for 45 years (stormed out one year), and the Montague Count for 33 years.
Many people are travelling during the Christmas Bird Count period. Should you be interested in participating a Christmas Bird Count outside PEI, visit Bird Studies Canada’s website at
birdscanada.org/volunteer/cbc 2018-19 Christmas Bird Counts – coordinators and map