COVID-19 and the Christmas Bird Count

We’d like you to keep safety top of mind as you consider participating in a COVID-Safe CBC. Please prioritize your safety and the safety of others when making your decision.

If you would like to participate in a COVID-Safe CBC this year, here are the guidelines:

  • Comply with all current public health guidelines for your area.

  • Practise physical distancing.

  • We very strongly advise that no in-person gatherings are held before or after the count.

  • Wear face masks when physical distancing is not possible or when mandated by local health authorities.

  • Remember that public health recommendations may change as we approach the CBC season, and even a COVID-Safe CBC might be cancelled at the last minute.

  • In addition, please review this letter to Birds Canada volunteers undertaking Citizen Science surveys in 2020.

Please note that there will be limited impact on the long term scientific and conservation value of the Christmas Bird Count by missing or altering one count season.

It's almost time for the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count!

You are invited to take part!

This would be a fine family/cohort citizen science outing, where your observations contribute to an assessment of the health, trends and distribution of bird populations, which in turn can help guide conservation efforts.

Each count takes place in a designated 24km (15 mile) wide diameter circle. If your home is within the boundaries of the CBC circle, you can stay at home and report the birds that you see, as long as you've made prior arrangements with the person that is the compiler for that count circle. Since each circle covers a large area, drivers and observers are needed to do a thorough count of the birds seen that day with no duplications.


The Buffalo Lake Nature Club will conduct three Christmas Bird Counts:

Stettler  ABST Dec. 20th,

Buffalo Lake ABBU Dec. 27th 

Red Deer River ABRR Jan. 3rd.

click on the maps above to see each circle

To find other established CBC circles, view the map at

If you are just beginning to become interested in birds, this is the perfect activity for you and yours, as there are a limited number of kinds of birds around in the winter (making identification simpler), as compared to the 400 plus species that may be here in the summer. Please join in the upcoming local Christmas Bird Counts. It is a fun learning citizen science opportunity in your own community.

Christmas Bird Count  information and instructions

Designated census route: Each group (party) should run a census-style route where they cover the route in-depth, counting every bird encountered. No other group should cover that area—we need to ensure that no double- counting occurs. That is why you must contact us to indicate what area / route you will be counting.

Counting while driving back roads  Do a tally on a sheet of paper for the total number of birds you see -example; you see 3 ravens and 2 magpies Your count would be 3 ravens. and 2 magpies Now you notice a roadkill, stop and watch what comes in.  Maybe 5 magpies and a raven come in .  Your count now magpies 7  ravens 4 .  You drive further and see 2 more magpies add that to the tally now magpies are 9.   You will have many magpies by the end of your tally.  Sometime you will retracing the same road while surveying your route . If a group needs to retrace their path along a census route, birds should not be recounted. However, if other species or new individuals of the same species are encountered, they should be included in the census results. For instance, if you walk down a trail and see 10 robins on the way in, then retrace your steps, seeing  15 robins and a shrike on the way back, your tally would be 15 robins and 1 shrike. Then just add that to the total tally 

Counting Large flocks like redpolls or snow buntings-  Make a sweep of a subgroup say 10 birds then notice how big that area is and sweep the whole flock counting groups of the same size counting by 10s  ( estimating )   If others are doing the same compare numbers , just do your best.

Feeder watchers: Please remember that you do not tally birds coming to feeders, it is the highest number of individuals seen and/or heard at one time that should contribute to the total number for that species. Feeder watchers should look for the maximum number of each species visible (or within earshot) at any one time as their maximum count. They should not keep adding chickadees for their entire watch period. It is best to have a couple people count together is you have large flocks of chickadees or red polls. 

 If doing a feeder watch at your home for more than 30 minutes count the birds as a feeder watch, keeping separate from your tally count. If watching a feeder in a yard as you are driving a route do a maximum observed count and add it to your tally. You can stop along your driving route where and as long as you need. Don’t trespass on private property, be aware that some people may stop you and ask if you are lost or need directions - just introduce yourself and explain. 

For each species seen, record the number observed on count day, or enter “CW” if the species was observed during count week only. The count week runs from three days before to three days after the count day. The count week can, therefore, extend outside the official count period; for example, if your count is run on December 15 2019, the first day of the period, your count week is still from three days before to three days after your count

 (December 12 through 18).                                                                                                                                          TAKE PICTURES IF You CAN,



SAFETY GUIDELINES The Christmas Bird Count should be a fun and enjoyable experience, but safety should always come first. Conducting your CBC in a safe manner is your responsibility, and if you are ever concerned about your safety, do not survey. Keep the following safety guidelines in mind for your count: GENERAL SAFETY TIPS         Bring a cell phone (make sure it’s charged!)
Tell a friend or relative where you are going and when you will return. Bring a first aid kit.
Bring more food and water than you think you will need.
Bring a partner! 

CAR SAFETY   Ensure your car is in good working condition and has a full gas tank.
Decide if your car needs snow tires or chains.
Bring a winter emergency car kit. For information on what goes in a car emergency kit and what to do if you get stuck in the snow, see
Make sure you have your spare tire, jack, and tire repair kit (and ensure you know how to use them!) 

ROAD CONDITIONS     Check the forecast for road conditions and visibility before you leave home.
Do not continue your count if road conditions are hazardous (e.g., icy roads, blizzard, etc). Use your judgment. Stay safe.


2019 Christmas Bird  Count 


 DECEMBER 15, 2019   Stettler Circle


We will set the groups and routes and send you on the way to make observations of birds and other species in your area. Each group will receive a map and Bird Canada information and the bird checklist.

 Have a fun visit with your route mates and enjoy counting and keeping a watch out for those special sightings. At 4:30 pm head back to the hall where we will compile all the data.  AND about 5 pm we will enjoy the Annual Potluck Christmas Dinner. If you can't make it to the count please come to the potluck. Everyone welcome to the dinner please invite family and friends for this time of fellowship.

 The Stettler circle includes the towns of Stettler, Botha, areas of Leahurst, and Warden. If you live in this area or are driving in this area and would like to help with the count the more eyes the better. If you live in the area and have bird feeders please consider counting at your feeder for 30 minutes or more and submitting the data to us.  Please see information on the counting and of course you are also invited to the potluck.

 Thanks to the 19 participants of the 2019 Stettler count  we had a great day 

Dec 22, 2019,
Buffalo Lake Circle Christmas Bird Count
Meet: Charley Birds, Erskine
Time: 1 pm  
 Area covered counties of Stettler, Camrose, and Lacombe areas include Mirror, Pelican Point and Rochon and White Sands, areas surrounding the lake.  

December 29, 2019 

Red Deer River Bird Count 

Meeting Place: Waverly Club Room, Alberta Ave and Main Street Erskine

Time: 8:30 am 

 The area includes Red Deer and Stettler counties surrounding the Red Deer River area. This includes Erskine, Nevis, Tail Creek, Wood Lake, Ewing Lake


 Christmas Bird Count

December 2018 

 Buffalo Lake Nature Club

Stettler Circle - Sunday, December 16

Buffalo Lake Circle – Sunday, December 23 

Red Deer River Circle – Sunday, December 30 

You can help monitor North America's birds! To be involved in the Christmas Bird Counts, contact the local compiler at

You may participate as either a field observer or feeder watcher somewhere within the count circle. Field observers cover a portion of the count circle on their own or with a small group, counting all birds they find. Feeder watchers count birds at their feeders for a portion of the day. 

When you register, compilers will want to know how comfortable you are with identifying winter birds. A great way to learn the winter birds is to join a group of field observers for the day. No experience is needed, just sharp eyes and your time commitment.


December 23, 2018 at 1 PM meet at Charley Bird Residence in Erskine where we will divide into field observer groups. Groups will drive various routes within the 24 km diameter circle to look for our feathered friends who are around for the Christmas season. About 4 pm return to the Bird Residence for beverage and snack while we compile the results. Please bring a light snack


If you live within the circle but can not make it out for the count please consider watching your back yard bird feeders and sending us your observations.

Other counts on Dec. 23 with compiler contact:

  •  Circle 15 (Alix, Nevis, Ardley, Great Bend) call Claudia 587 877 2217

  •   Circle 5 (Coghill, Haynes, Joffre to Red Deer River) call Marie 403 598 1017

  • Central Alberta Christmas Bird Counts with Red Deer River Naturalists

December 30, 2018  Cancelled do to wind snow and weather conditions

the Red Deer River Bird Count  has will be Mark Higgins

Meet at the Waverly Club Room, Main Street and Alberta Ave, Erskine at 9 am - 12:30

 It would be nice to have 4 or more drivers as this area has many dead end roads due to the river valley, making it longer to cover. 

The same formate will be followed ending about 12:30 for light refreshments.

Again if you live in the Red Deer River Circle and cannot make it to the event but can watch birds at your feeder for a hour or so Please send us your observations

20161218-7, Snowy Owl, NE of Stettler, C