We're not always this cold on a Christmas Count!

The Columbus Christmas Bird Count takes flight on Sunday, Dec. 19. Other area counts happen starting on December 17.

Help us monitor central Ohio’s winter birdlife in one of the longest-running volunteer censuses in the U.S. On the 19th, we’ll have teams of birdwatchers scouring the neighborhoods, parks, and wildlands of greater Columbus, looking for rarities and common birds alike. The Columbus count circle is centered just north of Bexley, so that it stretches from Upper Arlington on the west to Blacklick in the east, and from I-270 in the north to Groveport in the south. Key parks & preserves within this circle include Whetstone and the Olentangy Greenway, Antrim Lake and Beechwold, Griggs dam and Marble Cliff, Greenlawn and Scioto Audubon Park, Blendon Woods, the Alum Creek Greenway, Blacklick Woods, the Blacklick Creek Greenway, and 3 Creeks Park. Even with all these parks, much of the area is decidedly urban and suburban, although it was much less so when the count started back in the 1960s. 

Our CBC has described the bird population changes as Columbus has grown from a small city into a major metropolitan area. Some of the changes have been discouraging – our farmland has shrunk to Waterman Farms, Smith Farms at 3-Creeks, and a few farms along the southern edge of the circle. This means field birds like Kestrels, Meadowlarks, Harriers, and blackbirds, have become much less common. But the proliferation of suburbs and greenbelts has encouraged many forest and edge birds to stick around, and our totals of Chickadees, Blue Jays, Robins, Bluebirds, woodpeckers, and sparrows have soared.

We need you, and all your sharp-eyed friends, to help make this a good count. Teams of birdwatchers will comb parts of the city inside the circle, looking for common birds and unusual rarities alike. Most of the major parks in the circle – Blendon Woods, Blacklick Woods, 3 Creeks, Whetstone, South Scioto, and Greenlawn – will have teams of birders, and we’d love to have you join one of the teams for the morning. We need as many birders as we can recruit, since more eyes means fewer birds missed. So please plan to come out for the morning, or the whole day, or just keep an eye on your birdfeeders. For more details, email me me, Rob Thorn.

Even if you can’t make our Count, we’re not the only game in town – or perhaps we should say out of town. There are several other local CBCs, and we hope you can help on one or more of them. They include:

12-17-2021  Clark County CBC, which covers Buck Lake, Clark Lake, the Mad River and areas around Springfield. Contact: Brian Menker

12-18-2021  Hoover CBC, which covers Hoover & Alum Reservoirs, Highbanks and Sharon Woods Parks, and most of southern Delaware County. Contact: Lee McBride

12-19-2021 Delaware CBC, which covers Delaware Lake Wildlife Area and State Park, and town and surrounding areas. Contact: Rich Bradley

12-26-2021  Lancaster CBC, covers areas around Lancaster. Contact: Dave Goslin

12-31-2021  O’Shaughnessy Reservoir CBC, which covers parts of Dublin & Marysville and points between, including parts of Glacier Run MetroPark. Contact: Darlene Sillick

1-01-2022   Darby Creeks CBC, which covers Prairie Oaks & Battelle Darby MetroParks, as well as portions of Hilliard and Galloway. Contact: Jen Moore

Date TBA-Buckeye Lake CBC, which covers Buckeye Lake, Millersport, and Hebron. Contact: Jeff White

Date TBA-Hocking Hills CBC, which covers much of northern Hocking County, including Clear Creek MetroPark and the Hocking River Valley. Contact: Joe Moosbrugger

Date TBA-Killdeer Plains CBC, which covers Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area and much of Big Island Wildlife Area and the Tallgrass Trail. Contact: James Anderson