It’s Time for the 118th Annual Christmas Bird Count!

a photograph of a pileated woodpecker in a crabapple tree

A Pileated Woodpecker forages in a crabapple tree — a welcome sight for Christmas Bird Counters! (photo: Meade Cadot)

This is the 118th year of National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, which was originally conceived as a conservation-minded alternative to a 19th-century holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” Now it’s the longest-running citizen science project in the world, with more than 50,000 observers in 17 different countries. This year, the Christmas Bird Count will be held in Hancock, Peterborough, and surrounding towns on Saturday, December 16 and in Keene and environs on Sunday, December 17.

New to the Christmas Bird Count? You can expect a fun day in the field, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow birders and learning about birding and citizen science. You can also expect to feel good knowing that your observations — when combined with thousands of other counts from across the country — provide important information about the long-term status of North American bird populations, and help to inform bird conservation efforts.

If you live in Hancock, Peterborough or surrounding towns and would like to participate on Saturday, December 16, please call Dave Rowell at (603) 924-8790. This is Dave’s 25th — and final — year coordinating the Hancock-Peterborough count. Thank you, Dave, for your incredible commitment to birds, birding, and citizen science!

If you live in or near Keene and you’d like to join the fun on Sunday, December 17, please contact Phil Brown at or (603) 525-3499.