Christmas Bird Counts

DOS organizes six of the seven Christmas Counts counducted every year in Delaware.


Christmas Bird Counts in Delaware

The Christmas Bird Count has been a citizen science tradition for over 120 years.  The first count was conducted on 25 December 1900.  Today 2600 counts are conducted throughout the western hemisphere involving over 80,000 volunteer participants.  As the oldest running citizen science project, the data provide an extremely important perspective on long term changes in bird populations.

Christmas Bird Counts have been running in Delaware since 1939, starting at Bombay Hook.  The Delaware Ornithological Society manages 6 of the seven Christmas Bird Counts in Delaware: Wilmington, Middletown, Bombay Hook, Milford, Cape Henlopen-Prime Hook, and Rehoboth.  Anyone can participate.

See below is a list of the count dates for 2019-20, summaries of the counts and the count compilers contact information.

Bombay Hook Christmas Bird Count
Bombay Hook Christmas Bird Count. Photo by Joe Sebastiani
christmas count circles

Where are the Christmas Bird Counts held?

Christmas Bird Counts are conducted by counting all the birds that can be found in one day in a 15 mile diameter circle.  The map at left shows the location of the Christmas Bird Count circles in Delaware.  DOS manages all but the Seaford count.

Teams of birders are assigned different areas within the count circle and they record the number of all birds that they find on the assigned day.

How to Participate

Christmas Bird Counts are held from the end of December to the beginning of January.  All skill levels of birders are welcome to participate, including birders that would like to feeder watch at home.

Please contact the compiler listed below if you would like to participate in any count next year or have questions about count results.


Schedule of Christmas Bird Counts for 2023

Wilmington - Saturday, 16 December 2023

Compiler:  Jim White  [email protected]

Bombay Hook – Sunday, 17 December 2023

Compiler: Andy Ednie  [email protected]

Milford – Tuesday, 19 December 2023

Compiler: Chris Bennett [email protected]

Middletown – Thursday, 21 December 2023

Compiler: Anthony Gonzon  [email protected]

Rehoboth – Saturday, 30 December 2023

Compiler: Sally O’Byrne  [email protected]

Cape Henlopen/Prime Hook – Sunday, 31 December 2023

Compiler Bruce Peterjohn [email protected]