Clinton Christmas Bird Count

December 22, 2012

The Clinton Christmas Bird Count has been a tradition of the National Audubon Society for many years now. Darrin O’Brien has been the coordinator for the past seventeen years and has done a fantastic job getting other volunteers to help in our circle. You can find more information about the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts at

The Clinton Christmas Bird Count is a 17 mile radius circled centered in Clinton, broke into sections where volunteers count the birds in their section for one day. The data recorded gives scientists a “snap shot” of what migration looks like for one day at the same time each year. Not only is this a fun way to be a citizen scientist but you get to meet other birders in the area and we meet for dinner at the end of the day. For more information about the Clinton Christmas Bird Count, please visit the Clinton CBC blog that Darrin O’Brien started at

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact myself and I will put you in touch with a section leader in need of volunteers. Dinner will be at 5:00 p.m. at the Clinton Inn in Clinton, MI where we can collect data and share stories! If you wish to view their menu, you can follow this link

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at some of the up coming events!

Johanna Lentz
(734) 478-9410

For more fun, here is a link to videos from the National Audubon Society about the Christmas Bird Counts, enjoy!


Christmas Bird Count 2011

American Crow, Perusing the Fields of Lenawee County

On Sunday, December 18th a group of birders, including myself, participated in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.  The count area was a 15 mile radius around the city of Clinton, MI.

I spent the entire day birding around the City of Tecumseh and north of Clinton.  Overall, total numbers and number of species were down for me this year.  But I still had fun.  The highlight of my day was being surrounded by approximately 350 American Crow in the middle of nowhere and finding a Screech Owl peeking his head out of an owl box.

Now that the CBC is over I doubt I will be birding as much.  It’s time to go cross-country skiing.  It’s time to make some art.  It’s time to design that spring garden to attract more wildlife.

Keep those feeders full.

For those of you who can’t get enough birds, dont forget about the Great Backyard Bird Count coming up in a month or so.  I’ll write about that next week.

Good Birding!


One, two, three, four….

Snow Bunting in foreground by Goyo P
Snow Bunting in foreground, a photo by Goyo P on Flickr.

This sunday is the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. I’m pretty excited to get out there and count birds near my hometown of Tecumseh. The CBC is one of the more formal counts that are done for birds. There are instructions and a small participation fee. There is a count leader or “compiler”. He or she assigns people to certain locations within the count circle. If I’m not mistaken our Clinton circle is an 15 mile radius around Clinton. The circle is divided into sectors. Some circles have sector leaders. I will be counting birds on the East side of the Raisin River around Tecumseh. Since I am counting in the same place where I live I was able to get a lot of scouting done lately. I’ve been visiting the local hotspots looking for waterfowl, and other rare birds. I receive tips from the Southeast Michigan Birders listserve which is operated out of the University of Michigan. They announce sightings of rare birds in the area. For example there have been a few Snowy Owls seen in southern Michigan. Also, the nomadic White-winged Crossbill has been spotted in our county. I will be looking for those in Spruce trees and Tamaracks. We have birders who will be going out very early in the morning to look for owls, such as Screech, Barred and Great Horned Owls. We’ll keep an eye out in brushy tangles for Saw-whet Owls too. This year the weather will be on our side. It appears we will have open water so we should be able to find more species of waterfowl. I look for freshly plowed fields where mixed flocks of Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks and Snow Buntings hang out. My scouting has not turned up any Northern Shrikes but there have been Shrikes in my area before so I will keep an eye out for them.

If all this sounds like fun but you are not sure you can ID all these birds I understand. It takes time to get to know them all.  It can be a life long process.  I started simply by purchasing a Petersons Birding by Ear CD. Then I went out on my own and counted birds in my yard and local parks. I entered my findings on I just love doing it. It gets me outside. It’s good exercise and it’s mentally challenging. Stay tuned for more news about upcoming bird count events. The next one is the Great Backyard Bird Count. I’ll write more about that in a few weeks.