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Christmas Bird Count

December 16, 2018

For those new to birding or to the Christmas Bird Count, this is the longest running of all citizen-science surveys. The Count was begun in 1900 as an alternative to the Christmas hunt during which thousands of birds were shot for dinner or merely for sport. Christmas Bird Counts provide valuable information on trends in bird populations over time. The objective of the Count is to census all birds within a seven and one-half mile radius of Hartford’s Old State House on a single day. As such, all of Hartford, West Hartford and East Hartford are within the Count circle, as well as portions of Windsor, Bloomfield, Avon, Farmington, Newington, Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, Glastonbury, Manchester and South Windsor. Participants may count birds for an hour in their own yard if they live within the Count circle. Or, they may join a team that may venture into the field for part or all of the day, scouring reservoir lands, agricultural fields or parks and woodland areas.  Some birders even go out at night in an attempt to call in owls.  Birds that are seen or heard may be counted. All individual birds rather than just species of birds are counted. Three days prior to and three days following the Count Day make up what is known as Count Week. Birds seen during the Count Week, but not on Count Day, are considered “Count Week” birds and are noted as to species, but are not added to the total.  In 2017, a snowy owl was seen the day prior to and the day following the Count, but not on the Count day itself. That was frustrating!

The Hartford Count is divided into 12 areas, each with a captain. Captains and their email addresses are as follows:

Please contact the captain of the area in which you might be able to help well in advance of the Count. Captains are responsible for making certain areas are covered. We ask that you do not cover an area without letting the captain know so as to make certain areas are not doubly covered or to make certain they are within the Count circle.

Captains will meet on Monday, December 17th at 7:00 PM at Westmoor Park on Flagg Road in West Hartford for the final compilation. Observers are welcome to attend the compilation meeting. Please do not hesitate to contact me should there be any questions concerning the Count. It can be great fun and you might be surprised at what can be found during a day of birding in the Greater Hartford area.

Also available are (1) a map of the Count circle, (2) a summary of last year’s Count results, (3) a ten year record of birds seen on the Hartford Count and (4) a rare bird form that can be used for unusual birds that may require documentation. I hope this information will be helpful to Count participants.

Hope you can join us on December 16th.

Best wishes,
Jay Kaplan, Co-Compiler
Hartford Christmas Bird Count


December 16, 2018
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Steve Davis
Jay Kaplan