Miramichi Naturalists’ Club looking forward to Christmas Bird Counts


Pine Grosbeak, photo by Phil Riebel

by Pam Watters, past president of the Miramichi Naturalists’ Club

Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) will take place all over North America from December 14th to January 5th. This annual tradition dates back to 1900 when Ornithologist Frank Chapman decided to organize an event to count birds, as an alternative to the Christmas Side Hunt in which teams counted how many birds they could shoot!

The goal of the CBC is to find and identify as many birds as possible in 24 hours within a 24 km diameter circle. Some participants choose to watch birds at their backyard feeders from the comfort of their home, while others brave the elements to cover as much ground as possible within the circle. It’s fun and a great way to learn about the hardy birds that are able to spend the winter in New Brunswick. Of course, we are always hoping to spot an unusual or rare bird as well! Some of the more rare sightings on the Miramichi CBC included a Red-bellied Woodpecker in 2011 and a Field Sparrow in 2006.


Snow Bunting, photo by Phil Riebel

Our Miramichi Christmas Bird Count started in 1972 by Harry Walker. In the Miramichi area, we are lucky to now have three CBCs as counts were started in Red Bank/ Sunny Corner in 2004 and Burnt Church/ New Jersey in 2015. The results of these counts are submitted to a New Brunswick provincial coordinator, and the Miramichi results are entered into a North American database of Christmas Bird Counts through Bird Studies Canada/ National Audubon Society.

This data allows “researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America.” (National Audubon Society)

The Miramichi area counts will take place on the dates listed below (weather permitting). If you’re interested in participating, whether it’s monitoring your backyard feeders, or joining members for all or part of the day, please contact Pam Watters (773-7304) or Dave McLeod (776-3426).

Red Bank/ Sunny Corner, December 17th
Miramichi, December 18th
Burnt Church/ New Jersey, December 31st

Leave a Comment