Bird Counting

The history and purpose of bird counting.

Christmas Bird Count

The first Christmas Bird Count was conducted in 1900, the suggestion of Frank Chapman, founder of Audubon magazine. He proposed that instead of killing birds on Christmas, as was tradition, we instead count them. The first count was conducted in 25 places in North America, with results reported by 27 observers. Today, tens of thousands of observers report their counts in thousands of locations. The data is used to further our conservation and restoration efforts. We conduct the Corning Christmas Bird Counts in Elmira and Corning in December and January. Listed below are the species that were sighted. For a description of each of these birds, please visit the Audubon Field Guide.

Corning Christmas Bird Count Results

Compare to Previous Years: 2016

American Black Ducks - 27 American Crows - 1,008 American Goldfinches - 94
American Kestrels - 2 American Robins - 5 American Tree Sparrows - 34
Bald Eagles - 5 Belted Kingfishers - 0 Black-Capped Chickadees - 170
Blue Jays - 273 Brown Creeper - 3 Canada Geese - 1,006
Carolina Wren - 6 Cedar Waxwings - 1 Common Mergansers - 19
Common Ravens - 7 Cooper's Hawk - 3 Dark-Eyed Juncos - 522
Downy Woodpeckers - 42 Eastern Bluebirds - 23 European Starlings - 1,452
Field Sparrow - 1 Golden-Crowned Kinglet - 9 Hairy Woodpeckers - 11
Herring Gulls - 3 Hooded Mergansers - 4 House Finches - 90
House Sparrows - 93 Mallards - 149 Mourning Doves - 364
Northern Cardinals - 47 Northern Flickers - 3 Northern Mockingbirds - 2
Pileated Woodpeckers - 13 Pine Siskin - 3 Purple Finches - 25
Red-Bellied Woodpeckers - 14 Red-Tailed Hawks - 27 Red-Winged Blackbirds - 6
Ring-Billed Gulls - 35 Ring-Necked Pheasant - 5 Rock Pigeons - 708
Sharp-Shinned Hawks - 2 Snow Bunting - 4 Song Sparrows - 8
Tufted Titmice - 47 White-Breasted Nuthatch - 35 White-Throated Sparrows - 11
Wild Turkeys - 41    

Elmira Christmas Bird Count Results

Compare to Previous Years: 2016

American Black Ducks - 15 American Crows - 730 American Goldfinches - 148
American Kestrels - 3 American Tree Sparrows - 125 Bald Eagles - 11
Belted Kingfishers - 6 Black-Capped Chickadees - 369 Blue Jays - 425
Brown Creeper - 2 Brown Thrasher - 1 Brown-Headed Cowbird - 37
Canada Geese - 613 Carolina Wren - 14 Cedar Waxwings - 2
Common Grackle - 4 Common Mergansers - 40 Common Ravens - 41
Cooper's Hawk - 12 Dark-Eyed Juncos - 788 Downy Woodpeckers - 75
Eastern Bluebirds - 35 Eastern Screech-Owls - 4 European Starlings - 1,412
Fish Crows - 5 Gadwall - 2 Golden-Crowned Kinglets - 12
Gray Catbird - CW Great Black-Backed Gull - 4 Great Blue Heron - 3
Hairy Woodpeckers - 14 Hermit Thrush - 1 Herring Gulls - 31
Hooded Merganser - 1 Horned Lark - CW House Finches - 193
House Sparrows - 176 Iceland Gull - CW Mallards - 434
Mourning Doves - 381 Northern Cardinals - 99 Northern Harrier - 3
Northern Mockingbird - 7 Northern Shoveler - 1 Pileated Woodpecker - 8
Pine Siskin - 2 Purple Finch - 2 Red-Bellied Woodpeckers - 36
Red-Breasted Nuthatch - 3 Red-Tailed Hawks - 54 Red-Winged Blackbird - 3
Ring-Billed Gulls - 469 Ring-Necked Pheasant - CW Rock Pigeons - 1,132
Rough-Legged Hawks - 1 Ruffed Grouse - 4 Sharp-Shinned Hawk - 3
Snow Bunting - 6 Song Sparrows - 15 Tufted Titmice - 48
White-Breasted Nuthatch - 54 White-Crowned Sparrow - 25 White-Throated Sparrows - 25
Wild Turkeys - 61 Wood Ducks - 1  

Waterfowl & Bald Eagle Count

Every year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asks volunteers to help find and count ducks and geese throughout the state. It's a great opportunity to get out and see some of the birds that share our region during the winter months. Volunteers are paired with an experienced bird watcher, so no experience is required!

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an international event created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, designed to capture a snapshot of where all the birds are for a single weekend in the late winter. We use the event to highlight the diversity of really amazing birds in the southern Finger Lakes region, and we invite you to explore your feathered neighbors, either in your backyard, your favorite park, or wherever you happen to be (it doesn't need to be a backyard!).

The count runs over four days, so you can count every day from the same location, or go out and explore new areas throughout the four-day count period. For more information about the count, visit Great Backyard Bird Count. If you're interested in meeting up for a bird walk, let us know and we'll see if you can put together a program. Finally, stop by our local Wild Birds Unlimited store for more information about birds and bird counting.

In 2017, Chemung Valley Audubon teamed up with Elmira’s Tanglewood Nature Center to bring families and birds together for fun and science. CVAS’s Bill Ostrander led 40 emerging citizen-scientists along the Tanglewood trails on Saturday morning, February 18, helping them fine-tune their identification skills and tally birds for the 20th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

The worldwide event, which is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, along with international partners, provides a snapshot of bird distribution over a four-day weekend each February. Participants submit checklists of their bird sightings to an ever-growing database, and scientists use this data to study changes in bird populations. You can see the CVAS Tanglewood checklist here.

This year, more than 22 million birds were counted in over 100 countries. Visit this website to learn all about the Great Backyard Bird Count, see fabulous photos and get your start on counting birds for science.

Spring Census Bird Count

More information about the Spring Census Bird Count will be released as the event nears.