The Audubon’s Annual Christmas Bird Count at the Hatchery

Great Blue Heron at the Hatchery. Credit: Oscar Kelley (2021)

Every year across the US and Canada, avid birders set off to participate in the largest annual bird census in North America: The Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). CBC participants set out to count all the birds in a 15-mile diameter circle over the span of 24 hours. This 24-hour period happens on one calendar day (per circle) between December 14th and January 2nd every year.

The Christmas Bird Count was started by ornithologist Frank M. Chapman in 1900 as an alternative to a Christmas hunting tradition. With the help of 27 birders, Chapman started this century-long tradition with the simple idea of counting birds, instead of killing them. Since its conception, the CBC has provided useful data to the scientific community, informing reports like the 2012 EPA Climate Change Report, and Audubon’s 2014 Climate Change Report 

The Eastside Audubon Society includes the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery as a part of their 15-mile diameter circle that is surveyed during the CBC. In 2020, and again this year, FISH will be assisting Eastside Audubon Society leaders in their census of the hatchery grounds. As many know, the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is an urban wildlife refuge, rich with animals, bugs, and plants that create a complex ecosystem ideal for many native bird species. Last year during the CBC, 20 species of birds were counted at the hatchery including species of sparrows, starlings, gulls, mergansers, and more! Stay tuned to see what birds are spotted at the hatchery during the 2021-2022 CBC! 

Update: Final Birds from 2021 CBC at the Hatchery

Dark-eyed Junco 36
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2
House finch 16
Mallard ducks 8
Common Merganser 2
Northern Spotted Towhee 9
Glaucous-winged gull 6
Cooper’s hawk 2
Song Sparrow 2
English sparrow 10
Anna’s hummingbird 3
American Robin 25 (in the large Holly tree across the ally from the
library parking garage)
American Crow 29
Great Blue heron 1
Rock pigeons 55