Christmas Bird Count

Christmas Bird Count Compiler Announcements

COVID-19 Guidelines for the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Sept 22, 2020

Audubon will fully support any compiler who decides to cancel their count for this year. If a compiler would like to proceed with the CBC, they must abide by the guidelines below. 

Dear CBC Compilers,

First and foremost, we hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. We are living through unprecedented times, but the most important things are still those we choose to spend our time with.

Due to the COVID19 outbreak, this year’s Christmas Bird Count will require a few changes if your count is to take place at all. The two options for Christmas Bird Count compilers are as follows:

Option 1: Run a COVID-19 safe and socially distanced CBC, if local rules allow. [Must wait until November 15 at the earliest to choose this option in order to better understand status of COVID outbreak in your region during the CBC.]

Option 2: If option 1 is not possible, cancel this season’s CBC for your location. [Can choose this option now if you wish.]

 If you choose option 1, below are the guidelines that we urge you to follow:

  1. Wait until November 15 at the earliest to confirm CBC will take place, if local regulations allow.
  1. Cancel all in-person compilation gatherings.
  1. Social distancing and/or masking are required at all times in the field.
  1. Carpooling may only occur within existing familiar or social “pod” groups.
  1. Activities must comply with all current state and municipal COVID-19 guidelines.

If you feel it is not safe to move forward with your CBC and choose option 2, please know that Audubon fully supports your decision to cancel. The safety of our compilers and community scientists will always be our top priority. 

If you would like to take some more time before deciding whether or not to move forward with the 121st Christmas Bird Count, please do so and check in with us around the beginning of November once you have made your decision.

One note: There will be little to no impact on the scientific value of the Christmas Bird Count by missing or altering one count season. So again, we urge you to prioritize your safety and the safety of others when making your decision.

When you have decided whether or not to hold your CBC, below are 5 things you need to know: 

  1. The 121st Christmas Bird Count data entry application will be open starting in October. At that time click here to access the National Audubon Application Portal and enter your count dates, access blank field forms, check your compiler and participant lists, and confirm the information displayed to the public about your count.  Your username and password are the same as last year. 
  2. If necessary update your contact information in the “My Profile” section at the top of the screen; this is where you can update your email address and other information. If you change your email address, the new full email address will become your NEW username for your CBC account. 
  3. Enter the date of your upcoming count on the “Count Date, Status, and Information” page. 
  4. If you elect to cancel your CBC, please enter that information on the page where you would enter the date, but in the “Compiler Comments” section that displays to the public on the map of active CBC circles. 
  5. Checklists for the 121st CBC are again the same as last year’s. When the checklists are updated in the future, all interim taxonomic changes will be made retroactively, and you won’t need to do any manual management of your CBC records. Click here to access the Compiler’s web page for all the resources and materials you need to run your count and data entry.

Help Counters Tell their Stories—and tell us yours while you’re at it. Why I Count:  Audubon will help you and your counters celebrate the 121st CBC on social media. Stay-tuned for a toolkit with sample social media posts and Templates of Charlie Harper Painted Bunting “Why I Count” Stickers; wear them proudly. 

Have questions? Ask us. We’re here to help! Email:

Thank you for all you do for science and birds,
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count Team

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