Christmas Bird Count
Each year, birdwatchers nationwide don snow boots and binoculars to scour their hometowns, documenting and enjoying resident winter birds. This annual tradition, over a century old, has become a powerful tool for understanding the rise and fall of bird populations over time.
The CBC was created as a peaceful alternative to a traditional yuletide hunt wherein teams competed to kill the most animals in an afternoon. In Enosburg Falls, the participants of this “side hunt” collected a bevy of over 550 birds and mammals in 1896. In response to this tradition, founder Frank Champan announced “a new kind of Christmas side hunt in the form of a Christmas bird-census.” Over 118 years later, more than 60,000 birders participate in this census annually, contributing to the world’s longest-running citizen science project. The CBC has contributed to hundreds of scientific publications and is now considered one of the 24 major indicators of climate impacts by the Environmental Protection Agency.
NBNC organizes and compiles the local Christmas Bird Count circle. The circle encompasses a 7.5-mile radius around Plainfield, including the towns of Montpelier, East Montpelier, Calais, Orange, Barre, and Marshfield. One of the oldest circles in Vermont, this count has occurred annually since 1960!