The Christmas Bird Count has a rich history that stretches back to the year 1900, making it the longest-running Citizen Science project in North America. This tradition has been embraced by communities across the continent, with bird enthusiasts gathering annually to conduct counts on a single day between December 14 and January 5 within a 24 km diameter circle. Calgary’s participation in this time-honored practice started in 1952 and adds a layer of local historical significance to this global event, connecting the community with a broader legacy of avian observation.

The 2023 edition promises to be another exciting chapter in this storied history, offering citizens a unique opportunity to contribute to the understanding and conservation of our feathered friends.  Scheduled for December 17, 2023, the Calgary CBC will once again bring together birdwatchers of all skill levels to participate in a vital citizen science initiative. The designated area for the count spans a 12 km radius, centered on the Louise Bridge (10th St NW) in Calgary. This expansive region encapsulates diverse habitats, ensuring a comprehensive snapshot of the local bird population.

Participating in the Calgary CBC is a straightforward and engaging process. Individuals can register by filling out the online form provided at Participants of all levels of experience are welcome.  Beginner birders will be placed on teams with more experienced birders to ensure that everyone has a great time counting birds!

Not all participants need to venture into the great outdoors to contribute to the CBC. Those who prefer the comfort of their homes can become feeder watchers. By keeping a keen eye on the bird activity around their feeders, these observers help document the avian visitors to urban and suburban areas, adding another layer to the overall count. Feeder watchers provide valuable insights into how birds interact with human environments, offering a holistic view of Calgary’s avian diversity.

Beyond the thrill of spotting different bird species, the Calgary CBC fosters a sense of community and shared responsibility for the well-being of local ecosystems. The collective efforts of participants contribute to ongoing research and conservation initiatives. The data collected during the CBC helps scientists understand population trends, migration patterns, and the impact of environmental changes on bird species. This knowledge is instrumental in developing effective conservation strategies to protect Calgary’s avian inhabitants.

The Calgary Christmas Bird Count is a celebration of nature, community, and the enduring spirit of citizen science. As we approach the 2023 event on December 17, let us come together to marvel at the beauty of Calgary’s diverse birdlife and contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect and conserve our feathered neighbors. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a casual observer, your participation in the CBC is a meaningful contribution to our understanding of the natural world and a testament to the importance of community-driven conservation efforts.