Christmas Bird Count
Counting birds at the end of the year is a long-standing tradition. Every year since 1900, volunteers across North America have explored their communities to identify and count the birds that live there. SRLT hosts two central Maine Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) for the Audubon society. The Unity count takes place on the third Saturday in December and the Hartland count occurs the following weekend.
A CBC is a tally of individuals of all bird species found during one 24-hour period from midnight to midnight within a 15-mile diameter circle.
Data collected contributes to knowledge of winter bird populations which allows population assessment. Counts are run across North America between December 14 and January 5.
Trends during recent years have shown many southern species moving further north due to climate change. Did you know that when your grandparents were young they did not see cardinals or titmice in Maine as these species have only taken up residence during the last 50 years?
Local efforts like ours across North America support citizen science with results that provide scientists concrete information on how bird ranges are changing over time. This is especially important today with our climate changing so quickly.
Pine Grosbeak male
There are two ways to be involved:
1) Join a team to count birds in the field
2) Record birds at your feeder
The Unity CBC center point is just south of Unity village and the Hartland count is centered just south of St. Albans and extends from the south side of Great Moose Lake to the west side of Sebasticook Lake. You must live within a count circle to be able to count birds at your feeders, otherwise, you will be assigned a territory to count birds. Your time commitment is negotiable.
SRLT provides volunteers with instructions, bird lists, data sheets and the results of the tally.
For more information or to sign up for either count, please email Tom Aversa, the count compilier, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Unity Christmas Bird Count has been held for 25 continuous years! The weather is always a factor in how many birds are counted. Generally, the counts goes ahead without cancellation unless travel is forecast to be extremely hazardous. Local lakes are often frozen before count day, so water birds can be difficult to find. We had over 60 volunteers particpate in each of the last two years, so contact us early if you want to help us out. Before Covid we would meet after the count and discuss the birds seen during the day over food. This year, we may schedule an event after the count once again. Watch here for details. Hope that you can join us!