Christmas Bird Count (CBC)
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.
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. 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.
Pine Grosbeak male
The Unity Christmas Bird Count has been held for 26 continuous years! The weather on December 17, 2022 brought a snowstorm, but the count went on! Over 50 volunteers participated with 21 in the field. All day snowfall reduced detection of some species like jays and crows, but Evening Grosbeaks established a record high count and thrilled most feeder watchers. Good numbers of Bohemian Waxwing, another Northern visitor, were also counted.
The Hartland CBC was held on December 24, 2022. It was the twelfth consecutive year that this CBC was run, bringing the total that it was conducted to fifteen years. Twenty-five volunteers contributed to that effort.
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?
Climate related trends seen in 2022 included all time high counts of two species with more southerly distributions, Red-bellied Woodpecker and bluebirds. Bluebirds nest here but used to spend winters further south.
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.
Wintering Eastern Bluebird
Thanks to all who helped in 2022!
Despite the season's first nor 'easter on the day of the Unity count and flooding and a flash freeze for the Hartland count, hardy observers tallied birds in this citizen science effort. Read details on Unity or Hartland.
You will find the results from the Unity CBC here
You will find the results from the Hartland CBC here
There are two ways to be involved next year:
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.