Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, December 16th is the annual Christmas Bird Count for Kittitas Audubon. Teams will be counting every bird they can spot. At the end of the day all will gather for a potluck at Hal Holmes where species are tallied, and final numbers are submitted. Whether you count or not, you are all invited to attend the potluck!!

This year marks the 45th year that Kittitas Audubon has participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running citizen science project in the world. With climate change and decreasing habitat, tracking numbers of species and total bird numbers indicates where conservation projects need to be focused to help birds.

The original national count was begun in 1900 when 27 individuals in 25 areas tallied a total of 90 species in opposition to the ‘side hunts’ where the goal was to shoot as many birds (and furred species) as possible in a single day. Concern was also mounting regarding the decreasing number of birds killed mainly for feather adornment on women hats. Today in the US approximately 1850 circles are counted by 55,000 people.

The area Kittitas Audubon covers is a fifteen mile circle centered at the west interchange, and nine teams attempt to count every bird in that circle, indicating both species and numbers. At the end of the day our species number is approximately 80 and total birds counted range around 15,000. Phil Mattocks tallies, submits statistics, and writes a synopsis of our count day to appear in next month’s Hooter.

There are two ways to count, via joining a team or watching your own feeder (if you are in the count area). People on teams count the full day, but feeder counters may count for any amount of time in the comfort of their home. (Feeder counts are of equal importance!)

If you have never counted before and would like to do so, or if you wish to count your feeder birds, please call Gloria Baldi @ 509 833-0601 or email

Again this year we will meet after the count at 5:00pm at Hal Holmes to enjoy a potluck and tally the species number. This extends to all members whether you have counted or not. Just bring a food item, a plate and silverware for each person attending, and enjoy the camaraderie while hearing of all the bird sightings.

For upper county members, the Cle Elum count is Monday, December 18th. Contact Michael Hobbs at or (425) 301-1032 for details.