The 68th Nantucket Christmas Bird Count

Sunday, January 1, 2023


The Christmas Bird Count (CBC), one of the longest running citizen science projects in the world, is organized by the National Audubon Society. Over 70,000 volunteers world wide participate in Christmas Bird Counts globally. It was originally started in 1900’s by ornithologist Frank Chapman, who thought it was better to count the birds instead of hunting them on Christmas Day. What was once only 25, (15-mile diameter count circles) has now expanded to over 2,600 count circles world wide.

Since 1954, Nantucket has been a proud participant in the CBC, which was originally conducted with only 3 volunteers and now has expanded to over 50 volunteers which includes local and off-island birders. With guidance from Co-Compliers Ken Blackshaw and Edie Ray, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation helps facilitate the organization of the Nantucket CBC. On count day, this year January 1, 2023, the entire island is divided up into eight different sections and each one is assigned a team leader and field observers.  At the end of the 24-hr period, numbers of all species observed in each section are compiled into one list. The list is reviewed and finalized at the end of "Count Week."

The UMass Nantucket Field Station has traditionally hosted a compilation meeting for all participating volunteers to celebrate their findings of the day. The CBC is a fantastic way of getting a quick “snap-shot” of what and how many birds are within a definitive radius in 24 hours, and every bird counts!

Here’s a couple of ways you can help:

  • Do you have a bird feeder?  We need Feeder Watchers! A Feeder Watcher can keep track of the birds that visit their feeders within the 24-hr count period. Registration is required by Dec. 23, 2022.
  • Do you have a favorite conservation property you like to walk? You can volunteer to be a Field Observer of that property and then report your findings. Registration is required by Dec. 23, 2022.
  • If you are able to dedicate the whole day and enjoy birding you can be assigned to one of the eight sections  as a field observer! Registration is required by Dec. 23, 2022.
If you would like to volunteer as a Feeder Watcher, Field Observer, or be assigned to a section, email:

*COVID-19* We will be adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions stated by the National Audubon Society and we will also be complying with our local COVID-19 guidelines, which may be subject to changes and we will adapt as it gets closer to count date. We will also inform and distribute the latest guidelines to the participants prior to official count day. The compilation meeting on January 1, 2023 has yet to be determined if it will be hosted in person or virtual. Make sure you are on the email list to get all the latest updates for the Nantucket Christmas Bird Count, email:

Christmas Bird Count With NCF Umass 1123

Feeder Watcher Information:

Everyone is welcome to be a Feeder Watcher! All you need is a feeder in your yard and to keep track of the birds that come to visit on the official count day.

If you would like to register as a Feeder Watcher please email: by Dec. 23, 2022

Click below for the Feeder Watcher data forms. All forms should be emailed to by the end of count day. 

Photo by Tucker Taylor
Photo by Tucker Taylor
Photo by Tucker Taylor
Photo by Tucker Taylor