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.

GBBC Birders at Fort DuPont State Park

The 2020-2021 Counts

2020 has been a tough year to say the least, but we do have something to look forward to – the DOS Christmas Bird Counts. Thanks to our amazing compilers we are going ahead with all six counts. We will be following social distance protocols set forth by National Audubon during the counts. Count compilers will inform their participants about these protocols. However, if you are interested go to the Audubon CBC web page for details.

The Delaware Ornithological Society sponsors six counts: Wilmington, Middletown, Bombay Hook, Rehoboth, Cape Henlopen/Prime Hook and Milford. All counts are looking for birders to participate. Contact the appropriate count compiler if you are interested in joining any or all of this year’s Christmas counts. New birders are always welcome. The counts are free to all participants.

Count Summaries for Last Year's Counts (2019-2020)

Wilmington - 14 December 2019

Compiler:  Jim White (302) 593-9622 [email protected]

Bombay Hook – 15 December 2020

Compiler Andy Ednie (302) 792-9591 [email protected]

Rehoboth – 28 December 2019

Compiler Sally O’Byrne (302) 584-4783 [email protected]

Cape Henlopen/Prime Hook – 29 December 2019

Compiler Bruce Peterjohn [email protected]

Milford – 04 January 2020

Compiler:  Jim White (302) 593-9622 [email protected]

Middletown – 05 January 2020

Compiler Anthony Gonzon (302)-598-5893 [email protected]