Christmas Bird Count 2021


By Galen Pittman, Lawrence CBC Compiler

This year's Lawrence CBC is scheduled for Saturday, December 18th.  This year’s count will be the 78th Audubon Christmas Bird Count held in Lawrence!  Because of the continuing covid pandemic and the need to practice safe social distancing, we will significantly modify the way we conduct the Lawrence CBC for the second year in a row!! We will NOT meet at the end of the day for a compilation dinner, as has been the tradition for more than 50 years. Sorry, no JAS Audubon Chili again this year! 

 The Lawrence CBC has been conducted for many years with very traditional standard territories with party leaders who have done the same territories, year after year.  The CBC consists of a count circle that is 15 miles in diameter and all birds are counted for the entire 24-hour period (midnight to midnight). The circle is divided up into pre-assigned territories that don’t overlap, so there is no double counting.  Some participants have done the count for two or three decades running!! Each party (including its leader(s) usual covers their assigned territory with a single carload of participants.  We also have several people that watch their feeders and their yards on count day and submit feeder counts for the CBC.  We typically have 30-40 field participants in 10-12 parties. Normally, new participants are encouraged, whether or not they have any experience with doing a CBC. I don’t expect them to do the count on their own for the first time and I usually find them a spot in one of the existing parties that hasn’t filled up their vehicle for that year.  However, during this pandemic, I will NOT be asking those party leaders to take on ANY extra “new” people, particularly because they normally would have to share a single vehicle!! Therefore, first time field participants for the Lawrence count WILL NOT be recruited again year. However, I AM encouraging new people to participate, this year, by watching their feeders and their yards and submitting those counts to me to be included in the CBC compiled totals.

The center of the Lawrence count circle is located about 1½ miles north of US 40 just south of I-70. The center is about ¼ mile east of the jct. of Dg Co E.1000 Rd (Queens Rd) and N.1750 Rd (38.993, -95.311).  The circle covers most of Clinton Lake, all of the city of Lawrence including Baker Wetlands, the Fitch Natural History Reservation, the towns of Perry and Lecompton, and the Kansas River valley from just west of Lecompton to just east of Lawrence.  Of course, the feeders and yard you plan to watch and count birds for, on December 18th, needs to be LOCATED WITHIN the count circle!!

 If you want to be a feeder watcher, for some part of the day, (owling is encouraged!) it is important to contact the compiler (Galen Pittman) before the count. All that is needed is a tally of each bird species with the max number seen, number of observers, and the total number of “man-hours” that the feeders were watched during the day. Also, it is important to not just keep adding up the number of birds you see at one time over and over. Be conservative, try to estimate the total maximum number of each species for the entire time you watched. Of course, if you have four male and three female Northern Cardinals in the morning, and have two males and five females in the afternoon, you know you have at least nine not just the seven you saw at one time.  I may not see more than 3 or 4 total cardinals during the day at my feeders, but at sunset when the cardinals are the last species to come feed for the day, I can easily see 10-12+ at once.  Any birds you see in your yard, on count day, should be counted, not just those at the feeders. 

If you are interested, text me or email me, sometime before the count, at (785) 760-3572 or via e-mail: