The Christmas Bird Count: An Over 120 Year Tradition

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Show notes:

The Christmas Bird Count, also known as the CBC, began in 1900. For the past 122 years, volunteer birders of all ages and abilities have gathered together to conduct surveys of the birds found in their areas. The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running, community science or citizen science program in the U.S. and has spread to Canada and many other countries.

The data collected through the Christmas Bird Count are extremely valuable and have been used in numerous scientific papers. Perhaps the most well recognized of those papers in recent years is the one published in 2019 citing the drastic decline in bird populations over the past roughly 50 years.

In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we are joined by James Wheat. James is the President of the Kentucky Ornithological Society and the Regional Editor for the Christmas Bird Counts in Kentucky. During our conversation, James and I talk about what the Christmas Bird Count is and why it is so important. He also shares with us what happens on a Christmas Bird Count, who can participate (spoiler alert: anyone who enjoys birdwatching), how people can get involved, and some of his favorite CBC experiences.

Just as a quick reminder, every week, I send a short email with links to the most recent Backyard Ecology blog article, podcast episode, and video, as well as, any other news of interest. It’s the best way to make sure that you never miss anything in the Backyard Ecology world. You’ll also get a free e-booklet as my gift to you when you join my email list. If you haven’t signed up, then please do so using the link below.

Until next week, I encourage you to take some time to enjoy the nature in your own yard and community.

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Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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