Christmas Bird Counts Contact Us Back to Home Page

Every animal leaves traces of what it was, man alone leaves traces of what he created. Jacob Bronowski.



The first Christmas Bird Count was held on Christmas Day in 1900 in New York City. Now, about 60,000 people participate annually in over 2000 different Christmas Bird Counts held throughout North and South America. The data collected are used to analyze changes in bird numbers. For example, Audubon’s 2009 report explores the impact of climate change on bird populations across the continent. The Woodstock Bird Count has been held in mid-December every year since 1934. You can download excel summaries of our results below. To see online summaries of all of the world's Christmas Bird Counts, go to http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/.

Above: Our best bird of the 2016 CBC (17 December 2016), and arguably the rarest bird ever found on our bird count was this Western Meadowlark. The bird was discovered on count day at a Hickson feeder by Gail Robertson. The bird only came to the attention of the count organizers a few days later and was documented by the Skevingtons on December 25th. Our remarkable visitor represents the first record for the Woodstock Christmas Bird Count and only the fifth winter record of the species for Ontario! This is the furthest east that a Western Meadowlark has been found in North America this winter (click to see a map of records at this eBird link). Meadowlarks are notoriously difficult to identify in winter. The Skevington's tentatively identified this bird as a Western Meadowlark but then sought support for the identification from several prominent birders. Thanks to Peter Burke, Brandon Holden, James Holdworth, Alvaro Jaramillo, Kevin McLaughlin and Josh Vandermeulen for their comments on the bird. Overall, Western Meadowlarks have less contrast in their patterns than Eastern Meadowlarks. In particular, the head pattern is not nearly as boldy marked as in Easterns. However, the best way to identify winter meadowlarks is by the tail pattern. Westerns have less white in the tail than Easterns as seen in the photo below. To see more documentation and photos on this bird, click here to see the eBird record. - Photos by Richard P. Skevington.

The 83rd annual Woodstock Christmas Bird Count was held on December 17th. We saw 29,747 birds of 64 species. Our cumulative list stands at 135 species. All but fast flowing water was frozen and the fruit crop was moderate. Highlights of the count included: Gadwall (7th count), Bufflehead (1st count), Red-shouldered Hawk (count week; seen on 7 previous counts), Sandhill Crane (4th count), Lesser Black-backed Gull (4th count), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (3rd count), Tufted Titmouse (3rd count), Eastern Bluebird (10th count), Hermit Thrush (9th count), Fox Sparrow (3rd count), White-crowned Sparrow (7th count) and Western Meadowlark (1st count). New high counts were established for Mourning Dove (832 - previous high 684 in 2008), Red-bellied Woodpecker (35 - previous high 22 in 2008, 2010 and 20011), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2 - previous high of 1 in 1989 and 2013), Hermit Thrush (2 - ties previous high in 2005 and 2007) and Dark-eyed Junco (2006 - previous high 1222 in 2013).

The 2017 Christmas Bird Count will be held on December 16th. Contact Jeff Skevington for details (jhskevington@gmail.com; 613-720-2862).

The data for the Woodstock Christmas Bird Counts from 1934-2016 are available below in excel format. Just click to download.

2016 results (70 kB excel file)

1934 to 2016 (428 kB excel file)

Here is a google map of our count area along with the different count zones:
View Woodstock CBC in a larger map


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