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GardenSMART :: Participate in a Holiday Tradition of Counting the Birds

Participate in a Holiday Tradition of Counting the Birds

By Wild Birds Unlimited
Photographs courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited


In 1900, Frank Chapman organized 27 friends in 25 locations to count birds on Christmas Day to protest bird-shooting contests that were occurring at the same time. Chapman’s decision to count, rather than shoot, the birds became the Christmas Bird Count, a tradition in which many people are participating this year.

Christmas Bird Counts are annual, early-winter bird counts sponsored by the National Audubon Society and involve more than 45,000 people from North and South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. There are about 1,700 counts held during a two and one-half week period before and after Christmas.


Many people are participating in the count as a way to get involved in citizen science. Beginners are welcome, and people can spend a few hours or the entire day counting birds.

Christmas Bird Counts are very valuable. Data collected provides insights into the long-term health of bird populations and the environment.

For more information about how you can participate in the Christmas Bird Count, visit the National Audubon Society web site at You can also contact your local Wild Birds Unlimited to find and join a count in your area. To find a store location near you visit

For ideas on how to find the perfect gift for the nature lovers on your Christmas gift list, see the story Help Prepare Birds for Winter.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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