Some Background on the Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas bird count originated when conservationists became increasingly worried about declining bird populations. Traditionally a Side Hunt was held on Christmas Day, with the shooter bringing in the most dead birds being declared the “winner.” In 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition known as the “Christmas Bird Census” where people would go out and count the number of birds seen. This was to replace the Side Hunt and would be held on Christmas Day.

On December 25, 1900, 27 people in 25 different localities across the country (including California) carried out the very first Christmas Bird Count. Today, tens of thousands of people join in across the western hemisphere, armed with binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras, and count birds between the dates of December 14 – January 5. This year will be the 123rd Annual CBC.

South Bay/Palos Verdes Audubon will be continue this bird counting tradition with its 57th annual Christmas bird count (Palos Verdes Peninsula CBC) on December 26, 2022. Our count area is a circle, 15 miles in diameter, centered on the intersection of PV Drive North and PV Drive East – an area that extends from the L.A. River to the Santa Monica Bay and from Alondra Park to the Catalina Channel. (All CBC circles are 15 miles in diameter.) Throughout the years, the average number of species seen in this circle has been about 162 with a high of 187 species seen in 1994.

Whether you are an experienced birder or a beginner, we can use your help. Participants can either count on their own or join an established group. Any interested birders can contact Jonathan Nakai ([email protected]) to participate.


More information about the Christmas Bird can be found online on the Audubon website at Audubon's CBC webpage.