The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages experienced birders to become citizen scientists by helping with the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) – including about 20 counts in Missouri.
Christmas Bird Counts are held annually between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 to gather data on winter bird populations and to track the long-term status of species and large-scale trends. More than 2,500 CBCs are coordinated by local Audubon chapters and experienced birders across the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. Each CBC has a coordinator that assigns portions of a 15-mile diameter count circle to participants to count all birds seen and heard.
Missouri hosts about 20 CBCs, including the following list. If interested in participating, contact the CBC organizer listed.
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 14 – Contact Bill Eddleman at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Springfield on Dec. 16 – Contact Greg Samuel at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Trimble (Smithville Lake, Clay and Clinton counties) on Dec. 16 – Contact Kristi Mayo at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Maramec Springs on Dec. 16 - Contact Louise Wilkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Columbia on Dec. 16 – Contact Laura Hillman at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Big Spring on Dec. 16 – Contact Steve Paes at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
St. Joseph on Dec. 16 – Contact Tom Nagel at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Knob Noster on Dec. 17 – Contact Vernon Elsberry at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Dent and Texas counties on Dec. 20 – Contact Dan Hatch at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Poplar Bluff on Dec. 20 – Contact Bruce Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 21 – Contact Bruce Schuette at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Taney County on Dec. 23 – Contact Charley Burwick at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Cole Camp Prairies on Dec. 27 – Contact Ryan Steffens at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);
Liberal on Dec. 30 – Contact Dana Hoisington at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail);
Kansas City/Unity Village on Dec. 31 – Contact Mike Stoakes at email@example.com (link sends e-mail);Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Jan. 1 – Contact Randy Korotev at firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail); and
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 1 – Contact Steve Kinder at email@example.com (link sends e-mail).
For a full list of CBCs, visit: audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=fadfb421e95f4949bde20c29a38228bd.
MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick offers these CBC tips:
If you’ve never participated in a CBC, tell the organizer so they can place you with an existing team of birders.
Share your level of birding knowledge when you contact the CBC organizer so they can make sure you’re with a team with the experience to properly identify birds seen or heard.
Dress warmly. Most CBCs will be held regardless of weather, unless inclement weather is dangerous.
Bring snacks to stay fueled for a long day.
The CBC began in the United States in 1900 and is the longest-running citizen science effort in the country. For more information on Christmas Bird Counts, visit the National Audubon Society online at audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.