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Join in on an over 100 year birding tradition: the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, hosted by the Grand Marais Christmas Bird Count

Dec 11, 2023 08:47AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Joshua J. Cotten

From the Grand Marais Christmas Bird Count - November 20, 2023

Both feeder watchers and walking/driving birders are needed for the 2023 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The count will be held on Saturday, December 16 for the Grand Marais CBC, which is a 7.5-mile radius circle from a point three miles south of the middle of Devil Track Lake. 

The count circle covers Hwy 61 to Lindskog Rd and north, some of Cty Rd 60, Gunflint Trail to the
landfill road, Pine Mountain Rd to the backside of Elbow Lake, Devil Track Rd to Bally Creek Rd, Ball Club Rd to The Grade, Pike Lake Rd, and Hwy 61 west to the Cascade River, and all of the lakeshore between Lindskog Rd and the Cascade River.

You can cover as much or as little as you'd like.  You can be a novice to a professional since CBC's are open to birders of all skill levels.  We can use both walkers/drivers as well as feeder watchers that can identify birds, and can count the highest number of a single species in an area as well.
We'll also need any species of birds that you see in the count circle, but not on the count day.  This "count week" happens for the three days prior and three days after the count day on Saturday.

For count day, you'll need the following:
  • a guidebook
  • binoculars
  • a scope for lake birding
  • warm clothes
  • warm boots/Yak Traks
  • a log book to record your observations
  • a keen and quick eye to count our winter rarities
For feeder watchers, in addition to the applicable items listed above, you'll want to:
  • keep your feeders full before and through count day to encourage birds to be there on that day
  • have various foods available in feeders and on the ground to entice as many species as possible

On the day of the count, those who are able can meet at 4:15 pm at Voyageur Brewing Company to compile results. If you're not able to make it at that day/time, you can contact Jeremy Ridlbauer @ [email protected] or 218-370-0733, after 5pm to report results.

Prior to the count, please reach out to Ridlbauer at the info above to notify the group about what area you can cover or what feeder area you'll be watching.

While Audubon's National CBC effort began Christmas Day 1900, the first known Minnesota CBCs were conducted on Christmas Day 1905 in Minneapolis, and Red Wing. During those last 100+ years, the Christmas Bird Count has been conducted uninterrupted in the state and has grown to include almost 70 census circles and involved more than 28,000 participants. Each and every
year greater than 1,000 participants canvas the state to conduct the survey. These participants have logged nearly 77,000 total hours, traveling approximately 548,000 miles. The Minnesota CBC has tallied over 8.5 million birds of 201 species. Today, over 55,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies and Pacific islands count and record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area. Each count group completes a census of the birds found during one 24-hour period between December 14 and January 5 in a designated circle 15 miles in diameter, about 177 square miles.

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