2018 Christmas Counts for Alabama

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the oldest and largest citizen science event in the world. For over a hundred years, people have gathered during the winter holiday season to identify and count birds. In the process, they have created a vast pool of bird data that is a valuable source of information on the status and distribution of early winter bird populations. Parties of birders are assigned to different parts of a count circle, 15 miles in diameter, to identify and count all birds seen or heard from dawn to dusk.  Here is the schedule for some of the Alabama Counts. There are currently 11 active count circles in Alabama and over 2000 nationwide.More information: To learn more about how bird counts work, and to read the history of the one that started it all, check out National Audubon’s “History of the Christmas Bird Count”page.

Special thanks to Kenneth Ward, North Alabama Birdwatchers Society (NABS) for researching this information for the benefit of all of Alabama’s birders.

 15 December, 2018 (SATURDAY) 5:30 am

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, Dwight Cooley, Leader(256-565-6239;sabrewing@earthlink.net) Wheeler NWR is one of the more productive inland count areas around, usually yielding 115-120 species, and always includes some unusual birds. Birders of all skill levels are welcome and needed; we go in all types of weather. To join a party, meet at the Wheeler NWR Interpretive Nature (Visitor) Center, south off Hwy 67, east of Decatur. From I-65 take exit 334 and head toward Decatur; after crossing the water, the road to the Visitor Center will be on the left (watch for a sign on the right). We’ll regroup there at sundown for the tally (compilation), which is a lot of fun. Bring binoculars, a spotting scope, if you have one, and lunch. (34.547406 -86.951136).


Waterloo, AL, Paul Kittle, Leader(256-627-2376; pdkittle@una.edu)


Dauphin Island, AL, Howard Horne, Leader(hhorne@bvaenviro.com)

(Note: Teams cover Dauphin Island as well as part of the south Mobile County mainland)


Pensacola, FL, DanielStrangeland, Leader (850-686-3502dpstang71hotmail.com)


Auburn, AL, Geoff Hill, Leader(ghill@auburn.edu;334-332-4930)


16 December, 2018 (SUNDAY)

Cullman AL,Vince Meleski, Leader(256-739-4589, vmeleski@charter.netor vincemeleski@outlook.com) Counters meet at 6:30 a.m. at Culpepper Real Estate (601 7th Ave SW, Cullman, AL 35055 (close to the Post Office) to assign areas to be covered. This count is frequently short-handed, so we hope some of you will consider helping out. Those who want to help for part of the day (morning or afternoon) can also participate. We will re-meet for compilation at 5:00 pm at Karma’s Coffee House (103 1st Ave NE, Cullman, AL 35055).

Tuscaloosa, AL, David Arnold, Leader(205-792-0653)


17 December, 2018 (MONDAY)

Choctawhatchee Bay FL, Alan Knothe, Leader(850-208-1780, birdman6419@gmail.com; email is best)


18 December, 2018 (TUESDAY)

Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge (ALEU), Eufaula, AL, Mason Jarrett, Leader. Sign up on the CBC website (http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/), or email me. (beltedkingfisher2000@yahoo.com)


Buffalo River, Lawrenceburg, TN, Damien Simbeck, Leader(256-856-3079; tnbarredowl@aol.com)


 22 December, 2018 (SATURDAY) 7 am

Birmingham Audubon Count,Paul Franklin, Leader(cell: 205-542-7647 day of count only; contact Paul at: phfranklin36@gmail.com).  We’ll spend the day in small groups surveying bird populations at a wide variety of sites located within a fifteen-mile-diameter “count circle,” centered near the intersection of Overton Road and Highway 280.

Because this is a coordinated scientific survey, we require all participants to RSVP at least a day or two before the count: to do so, log in to our member portal at birminghamaudubon.org, or emailSarah Randolph, Outreach & Communications Director, subject line: “Christmas Bird Count,” with your contact information (cell, email) and what times you’d like to participate. You should also let us know if you’re new to bird counts, as we’ll need to send further instructions on how to participate, what to expect, &c. As always with our counts, we’ll meet up at the end of the day for refreshments and “compilation” at our office, located on the second floor at 3720 4th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35222. The compilation will begin around 5:00 p.m. We will plan to go to dinner at the new BBQ restaurant behind our offices after the compilation (formerly Saigon Noodle House).

Can’t join us in the field? Our website has information about how you can participate at your home feeder!


 26 December, 2018 (WEDNESDAY) 5:00-6:00 am
Guntersville, AL, Linda Reynolds, Leader(256-582-2970; rreynolds2970@charter.net) This Count yields a wide variety of songbird, raptor and waterfowl species. Unlike the Wheeler Christmas Count, there is no single gathering spot for folks to meet and join a group. For this reason, please contact Linda Reynolds if you are interested in joining one of the eight parties of counters. Meeting times for different parties may vary. The meeting spot for compilation is the Guntersville Public Library. Look for the sign along Hwy 431 in Guntersville, to your right, if coming from the direction of Huntsville.


27 December, 2018 (THURSDAY) 5:30 am  (tentative)

Savannah, TN, Damien Simbeck, Leader(256-856-3079; tnbarredowl@aol.com)

Meet at 5:30 am at McDonalds in Savannah (corner of Hwy 64 and 128)


2 January, 2019 (WEDNESDAY)

Montgomery, AL, Carrie Threadgill, Leader(334-242-3864, carrie.threadgill@dcnr.alabama.gov]


Wheeler Dam, Lauderdale/Lawrence Counties, AL, Damien Simbeck, Leader (256-856-3079; tnbarredowl@aol.com)

I am hoping to begin a new Christmas Bird Count here in North Alabama, centered near Wheeler Dam. Per National Audubon Society recommendations, we will make a dry run this year, then officially start the count next year. The count will be conducted on January 2 each year. In years when January 2 falls on a Sunday, the count will be conducted on Monday, January 3. The circle will be centered near the mouth of Big Nance Creek below Wheeler Dam. It covers the Tennessee River from the mouth of the Elk River to Fourmile Creek/Lime Kiln Hollow. On the north side of the river, the circle will include Rogersville, Joe Wheeler State Park, First and Second Creeks, Elgin Crossroads, Center Star and areas west to near Brooks High School (Killen). On the south side, it will include the mouth of Spring Creek, Red Bank Marsh, Wheeler Dam, Town Creek Marsh, The Point and The Sinks. I currently have 5 confirmed party leaders. I need at least 6, though 8 would be preferred. I will also need participants to join those leaders. If you would like to assist, let me know as soon as possible (tnbarredowl@aol.com<mailto:tnbarredowl@aol.com>).


January 3, 2019, (THURSDAY)

Columbus, GA (ALEU) –Mason Jarrett(706-992-8864; beltedkingfisher2000@yahoo.com)

Interested parties can either sign up on the CBC website at http://netapp.audubon.org/cbc/public/, or email me.


 5 January, 2019 (SATURDAY)

Gulf Shores, AL,Greg Jackson and Howard Horne, Leaders (hhorne@bvaenviro.com)