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This year, the Seattle Christmas Bird Count will look a little different. Rather than volunteers out in the field, we’re encouraging anyone within the Seattle count circle area to register as a Feeder Watcher and to count birds at your own home on our count day, Saturday, December 26. All birds are important to the count. You can spend as much or as little time as you wish watching for birds out your window. Whether you have a lot of nature or just a little, there are sure to be birds outside. 

We also plan to have a few fun activities on that day, including an Ask-a-Birder helpline, photo sharing on the Seattle Audubon Facebook community page, a post-count virtual potluck to share count-day observations, and (weather allowing), some live feeder cameras on local feeders. Be sure to register for Feeder Watch to learn about these activities. 

Thank you for being a part of this Seattle tradition that first began in 1911. It may look a little different this year, but the data we collect will still become part of the longest-running community science program in North America. 





Seattle Christmas Bird Count 2019: THANK YOU

The 2019 Seattle Christmas Bird count was held on an overcast but rain-free day – much different than the year before when it was windy and rainy. Overall, that helped us find the birds – though the species total wasn’t high, the total number of birds was. The count day total of 121 species was the third lowest in the past decade, and the three count week species are added in, for a total of 124, we still came up with our second lowest total in the past decade, about 4 off the normal total for the decade. That said, the total number of birds seen was high, with over 50,000 birds seen – only the second time this decade we reached that level. All told, we tallied about 2000 birds more than our decade average. A HUGE thank you to all who took part and made the 2019 Seattle CBC such a great event for birds and nature.

View the full results and species list prepared by Seattle CBC compiler Matt Bartels.

What is the Christmas Bird Count?

Established in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running community science survey in North America. Seattle Audubon has coordinated the Seattle CBC for over 90 years! Approximately 250 volunteers survey the count circle (15 miles in diameter) centered in downtown Seattle, to identify and count anything with feathers and a pulse. There are 14 sections within the Seattle count circle, each being covered by one or multiple teams of volunteer surveyors. All results are tallied by a count compiler and submitted to the National Audubon Society. These data are incorporated into very important research, like the State Of The Birds report and the National Audubon Society's Climate Change Report: Survival By Degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to be an expert birdwatcher to participate?

Experienced birders, beginner twitchers, neighborhood residents, and newcomers are all welcome to take part in the count. It's a great way to be introduced to birdwatching. 

When is it? The Seattle CBC takes place on the last Saturday in December. This year the Feeder Watch  count will take place on December 26, 2020

Find instructions and tips on how to conduct your Feeder Watch, in this useful guide. Use this datasheet to record your bird observations. Follow this link for a full expanded species list.

How do I submit my Feeder Watch data?

Please submit your data using the online datasheet found hereIf you have any questions, please reach out to the CBC Coordinator.


How much does it cost?

The CBC is a free program. However, Seattle Audubon kindly asks you to donate the traditional $5.00 fee to Seattle Audubon to fund work like our community science projects. Simply add your donation during the CBC registration process or click the “Donate” button on the top left of this page.


Other Resources

Seattle Christmas Bird Count Final Tally Sheet lists all the bird species that are potentially encountered during the Seattle CBC - updated Oct 2017

Other Christmas Bird Counts in Washington State (approx. 36 total taking place annually all over the state, Dec 14 through Jan 5)

National Audubon Christmas Bird Count (learn more about the history and run a custom analysis of the CBC data!)

View online map showing all 2,400+ count circles

Past Media Coverage

"Seattle Audubon's Christmas bird count draws fans of all levels, from newbies to sighting superstars" Christy Karras, Seattle Times Magazine, February 15, 2019

"Nature is still everywhere: Bird counters find wonder amid Seattle's towers, dog parks and playfields" Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times, January 1, 2018

"People, birds meet for annual Christmas tally" Maddy Lauria, Seattle Times, December 30, 2017

"Tips for Beginner Bird Watchers" Caroline Craighead, Seattle Magazine, December 2017

"Tallying winter's wings: cormorants, crows, mallards and more" Alan Berner, Seattle Times, January 2, 2017.

"Seattle Audubon to hold Christmas Bird Count" Madeline Mckenzie, Seattle Times, December 18, 2016.

"Pikes/Pines - Capitol Hill's Christmas Bird Count" Brendan McGarry, Capitol Hill Times, December 21, 2014.

"Christmas bird count" Colin Ditz, Seattle Times, December 28, 2013.

"Seattle bird lovers stroll out for Christmas count" Emily Heffter, Seattle Times, December 31, 2011.

"The Nerd Issue: Seattle's Beloved Geek Festivals" (Outdoor section) Anna Samuels, Seattle Magaazine, February 2011

"Christmas Bird Count is bird-watchers' annual delight" Lynda V. Mapes, Seattle Times, December 21, 2009.

"Birders scan treetops and underbrush in an annual count that began 108 years ago" Craig Welch, Seattle Times, December 30, 2007.

Search Seattle Times archives for "Christmas Bird Count"

"Two Mourning Doves: The Christmas Bird Count" Weekday with Steve Scher on KUOW. Aired December 26, 2007 at 10am.

"Crunch of boot, flash of feather, call of "PISHHHHH" at annual bird count" Nancy Bartley, Seattle Times, December 31, 2006

Questions? Media inquiries?

Contact: Christine Scheele, Program Director at 206-523-8243 x107 or email.


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Read results from past Seattle CBCs

2012 CBC Report

2013 CBC Report

2014 CBC Report

2015 CBC Report

2016 CBC Report

2017 CBC Report

2018 CBC Report

2019 CBC Report













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