The Christmas Bird Count season arrived on December 14, 2022 and I was excited to do the Richmond-Munster count again after missing it last year. The Christmas Bird Count period falls in the days between December 14 and January 5th; each region picks a date within that period and conducts a formal census of all the individual birds seen within a 24-hour period. A Christmas Bird Count region is defined as a 24 kilometre (15 mile) circle that does not overlap with another region, usually centered on a town or important landmark. As such, they are referred to as “count circles”. The Ottawa count circle, for example, is centered on Parliament Hill, neighbouring the Dunrobin count circle to the west and the Richmond-Munster count circle to the south. Each count region is then broken down into count sectors with a leader for each, and this leader is responsible for providing their count totals to the count compiler.
Count volunteers are given specific routes in a sector, counting every bird they see or hear throughout the day. Both species and individuals are counted in order to determine the total number of birds in the circle that day. If you live within the boundaries of a count circle, you can participate by reporting the birds that visit your yard or feeder on count day, providing that you have contacted the region’s count compiler of your intention to participate ahead of time. You can find a map of Canadian CBC circles and the compiler contact info on the map on the Birds Canada website.Continue reading