Christmas Bird Count - Dec 31, 2022
The 123rd annual Christmas Bird Count was another resounding success in the Tri-Cities. A total of 112 species were observed by 71 people walking and driving in the field and observing birds at feeders.
The Tri-Cities Christmas Bird Count (CBC) regularly has the highest number of species seen inland in Washington thanks to strong community and LCBAS member support. It is typically held the first Saturday following Christmas Day.
All CBCs are standardized to a 7.5 mile radius circle (about 177 square miles). The LCBAS count circle is formally called the Washington Tri-cities circle (see below) and centers on the Columbia River shoreline closest to Road 68 in Pasco. This is a very large area that includes Selph Landing Road in Pasco, most of Two Rivers Park east of Kennewick and Badger Mountain in Richland.
To facilitate the organization of small count teams, the circle is managed by three team leaders representing Richland, Pasco and Kennewick. To participate in the CBC, contact any of the leaders to get more information about the count date and general guidelines.
Richland: Lisa Hill (509-869-6715)
Kennewick: Rich Barchet (509-430-0053)
Pasco: Dana Ward (509-545-0627)
Male Hooded Mergansers - Larry Umthun
Male Varied Thrush - Larry Umthun
A trail through sagebrush habitat in W. E. Johnson Park.
Traditionally, a potluck dinner is held the evening of count day. Participants, friends and family are encouraged to attend to hear stories of great bird sightings, and generally commiserate about that day's weather.
The highlight of the evening is tallying the number of species seen and heard in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick. As each bird is called out from the tally board, an image is displayed of the bird from a Powerpoint presentation. On average, about 115 species are seen by 60-70 observers in the field. All the data is submitted to National Audubon.
At the turn of the 20th century, habitat and wildlife conservation was in its infancy and few people gave much thought to preserving bird populations and protecting wildlife habitats.
In 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed an annual winter bird count that would begin taking stock of birds across the U.S. and Canada. On Christmas Day of that year, a "Christmas Bird Census" was held in 25 locations, by a mere 27 dedicated birders! Thus was the beginnings of what is now known as the Christmas Bird Count (CBC).
In January 1966, a Tri-Cities birding club held a Christmas Bird Count shortly before the club received a National Audubon Society charter to officially become the Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society chapter. LCBAS has continued to conduct a CBC every year since.
Data from these counts becomes part of the largest wildlife database in the world. It is vital for determining the status of expanding and declining bird populations. What started as a "fledgling" effort grew into one of the largest and most important ongoing citizen science projects in the world.