Citizen Science

Community Science (Bird Counts)

National Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count Season will run from    Thursday Dec 14th, 2023 to  Friday January 5th, 2024.

To find a count near you on an interactive map:

https://audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=ac275eeb01434cedb1c5dcd0fd3fc7b4

To download this years CBC announcement as a PDF visit Scribd link:

 https://www.scribd.com/document/692209583/Announcing-Christmas-Bird-Count-FINAL-ma-23-24-3

 ANNOUNCING THE CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS IN OUR REGION

This is a list of Christmas Bird Counts in South Dakota and the closest parts of nearby states. The list is created by Prairie Hills Audubon Society of Western SD. 

December 14th, 2023-January 5th, 2024

Audubon’s 124th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) 

https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

All official counts will be held between the dates, Wednesday, December 14th, 2023 through, Thursday, January 5th, 2024.

This year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count will mobilize nearly 80,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,600 locations across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone.

The censuses provide valuable data about the number of bird species and numbers of each species occurring within set geographic areas on an early winter day. The results are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology, representing 124 years of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. 

When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The long-term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well. Christmas Bird Count data have been used in more than 300 peer-reviewed articles.

Birders of all ages are welcome to contribute to this fun, nationwide community science project, which provides ornithologists with a crucial snapshot of our native bird populations during the winter months. Each individual count is performed in a count circle with a diameter of 15 miles. At least ten volunteers, including a compiler to coordinate the process, normally count in each circle. The volunteers break up into small parties and follow assigned routes, which change little from year to year, counting every bird they see. In most count circles, some people also watch feeders instead of following routes. 

Interested birders must arrange with the count compiler in advance to participate. If weather is adverse, please check with comiler to verify it is still  happening on the planned date

What to bring?

Participants should bring lunch, drinking water, warm clothing and footwear. Binoculars, field guides and spotting scopes are suggested, for those who have them.

 The five-dollar fee has been dropped to encourage more participation and the annual published report,

 (American Birds) previously available in paper has been made digital – see link:

https://www.audubon.org/content/american-birds-annual-summary-christmas-bird-count

Links to CBC web pages:

https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

To find a count near you on an interactive map provided by National Audubon Society:

https://audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=ac275eeb01434cedb1c5dcd0fd3fc7b4

Other links:

SOUTH DAKOTA

https://phas-wsd.org/citizen-science/

http://sdoubirds.org/SDOU/Calendar.aspx

NEBRASKA:

http://www.noubirds.org/Activities/CBC.aspx

MINNESOTA:

http://moumn.org/CBC/cal/calendar.php

IOWA

https://iowabirds.org/Connections/CBC.aspx

WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA’s CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

STURGIS, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

Saturday, 12/16/23,  Bad weather alternate date is Saturday 12/23/23

 Contact: Erik Davis: speargoose@gmail.com 

PIERRE/FT. PIERRE, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, 

Saturday, 12/16/2023,

Bad weather alternate is 12/18/23 

Contact: Ricky Olson, tatanka40@pie.midco.net

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

Sunday December 17th 2023, 

 Contact: Angela Jarding,  angela_jarding@nps.gov , (605)-745-1157, 

This CBC is not affiliated with National Audubon.

RAPID CITY, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

Sunday, 12/17/23

 Contact: Peg Mcintire, mcintire14@me.com,

SHADEHILL, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

Tuesday, 12/19/2023 

Contact: Greg Schonert, gregory.schonert@usda.gov

Greg’s Phone: 701-989-7309 (office) 701-202-0833 (cell), Forest Service (Grand River District) 605-374-3592

BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

TBD, likely either 12/29th or 12/30th

Contact: Nancy Drilling, dril0008@gmail.com,  605-791-0459.

SPEARFISH, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

Sunday, 12/31/2023,  

Meet at McDonalds at 7:30 a.m. MT

Contact: Daniel Bjerke, 605-381-0493, dlbjerke@midco.net

HARDING COUNTY, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

1/2/2024, 

Meet in the Tatanka Plaza parking lot in Buffalo at 8 am

Contact: Janice Bovankovich, jbovankovich@abcbirds.org,

PINE RIDGE RESERVATION, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

TBD, likely to occur towards the end of the season

Contact: Peter Hill, petermhill@yahoo.com, 605-441-9346.

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HOT SPRINGS, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

It is not happening this season 

Contact: Duane or Marie Weber – (605) 673-2032, mmcurtin@gwtc.net

PIEDMONT, SD, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT,

It is not happening this season. A new compiler is needed.

Contact: Gene Hess: gene@neopaleo.net, 

BISON, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

We believe that it is not happening this season & a new compiler is needed. –

 Contact: Meghan Dinkins,  meghandinkins@hotmail.com, 

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EASTERN SOUTH DAKOTA’s CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Sand Lake N.W.R. Christmas Bird Count,

12/14/2023 

Contact: Lindsey Wickre, lindsey_wickre@fws.gov, 605-228-8421,

Aberdeen Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/2023

Contact: Gary T Olson – olsonfam@nvc.net, 605-885-6284

Mitchell Christmas Bird Count, – 

12/16/2023

Contact: Jeff Hansen, jeff.hansen.sd@gmail.com, 785-806-6917

Sioux Falls Christmas Bird Count,  

12/16/2023

Contact: Chris Anderson, canderson1@sio.midco.net, 605-254-2550

Brookings Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/2023

Contact:  Dan Kemp, dankemp@brookings.net

Yankton Christmas Bird Count,

12/17/20237

Contact: Roger Dietrich: 1947rogerd@gmail.com, (605) 660-6247,

Waubay N.W.R. Christmas Bird Count,

TBD, maybe the week of Dec 17th, 

Contact: Brad Johnson – brad_johnson@fws.gov,  605-947-4521

Madison Christmas Bird Count, 

12/20/23

Contact: Jeffrey S. Palmer,  jeff.palmer@dsu.edu, (605) 256-5190

Canton Christmas Bird Count, 

 12/30/2023

Contact: Chris Anderson, canderson1@sio.midco.net, 605-254-2550

Huron Christmas Bird Count,

12/29/2023

Contact: Ryan Thompson, ryemel4@santel.net

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Lake Andes Christmas Bird Count,

It is not happening this season: 2023-24 and it needs a new compiler to volunteer. 

Contact: Mick Hanan, mick_hanan@fws.gov, 605-481-2347

SOME OTHER CBC DATES, NEAR SD BUT IN NEARBY STATES:

Christmas bird counts in other states, that are near enough, that SD folks may be interested in them –

We are especially interested those CBCs that are closer to us (Prairie Hills Audubon Society) in western SD:

 

SOME NEBRASKA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Ponca State Park, NE, Christmas Bird Count,

12/14/2023

Contact: Bill Huser, BillFHuser@gmail.com, or 712-574-3107

Scottsbluff, NE, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/15/2023 

Contact: Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net,

Norfolk, NE, Christmas Bird Count,

12/16/2023

Contact: Duane Wolff, duane.wolff@audubonmember.org, (402)-841-0130,

 David Heidt, heidtdw@gmail.com,

North Platte, NE, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/23

Contact: Thomas Walker, thomas.walker@nebraska.gov, 308,-530-7659

Fort Niobrara, NE, Christmas Bird Count,

12/19/23

Contact: Kristine Askerooth, kristine_askerooth@fws.gov

Lake McConaughy, NE, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/30/2023 

Contact: Stephen Dinsmore, cootjr@iastate.edu, 515-294-1348

Crawford NE, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/30/2023 

Contact: : Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net

Harrison NE, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/31/2023 

Contact: : Kathy DeLara, renosmom@charter.net

 

SOME WYOMING CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Gillette, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/23

Contact: William Vetter wm_vetter@msn.com, (307) 670-1145,

Dustin Downey, 307.756.3941, 504.453.4139, ddowney@audubon.org, 

Sheridan, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/2023

Contact: Annie Dunn, anniegitterdunn@gmail.com, (253) 307-9082.

Casper, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/16/2023

Contact: Bruce Walgren, piranga@bresnan.net, 307-234-7456, 

or Stacey Scott at hustace@gmail.com or (307) 262-0055

Kane, WY, Christmas Bird Count,,

12/16/2023

Contact: Christy Fleming: christy_fleming@nps.gov, 307-548-5402

Buffalo, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/17/2023

Contact: Deane Bjerke, bjerkedp@gmail.com,

Goshen Hole, WY, Christmas Bird Count

12/17/2023 

Contact: Zachariah Hutchinson, zhutchinson@audubon.org

Story-Bighorn, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/30/2023

Contact: Ariel Downing: at 307-751- 2303, bandgeek832@gmail.com, Christy_Fleming@nps.gov

Guernsey/Ft. Laramie, WY, Christmas Bird Count,

1/1/2024

Contact:  Jane Dorn, 307-640-4002, linglebird@yahoo.com,

Bates Hole, WY, Christmas Bird Count, 

1/1/2024

Contact: Hustace “Stacey” Scott, hustace@gmail.com, call Stacey at 307-262-0055 or Charlie at 307-473-2512

Sundance, WY, Christmas Bird Count,

TBD – likely later in the CBC season

Contact: Jen at 307-290-0457, ravenssong18@gmail.com,

 

SOME IOWA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Westfield, IA, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/15/2023 

Contact: Bill Zales, doczales44@hotmail.com

Sioux City, IA, Christmas Bird Count,

12/16/2023

Contact: Jerry Probst, probstsuebee@aol.com, 712-490-8256,

 

SOME MINNESOTA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Ortonville, MN, Christmas Bird Count

12/16/2023

Contact: Brandon Semel: brandon_semel@fws.gov

Hendricks, MN, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/15/2023

Contact: William A. Schultze, bcbrats@itctel.com, 605-479-3015

Pipestone National Monument, MN, Christmas Bird Count, 

12/30/23

 Contact: Garrett Wee, garrettwee@hotmail.com, 

(507) 829-8187, or Natalie Barber, Natalie_Barber@nps.gov


SOME NORTH DAKOTA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Long Lake N.W.R. ND, Christmas Bird Count,

12/14/2023 

Contact: Madison Fladeland (madison_fladeland@fws.gov) (701-319-6279)

or  Jared Newton,  Jared_Newton@fws.gov

Tewaukon N.W.R.ND, Christmas Bird Count,

12/14/23, This year the CBC is not open to public

Contact:  Eric Wilson, eric_wilson@fws.gov, 701-724-3598 ext 2, 

Bismarck-MandanND, Christmas Bird Count, 

Either 12/16/23 or 12/23/23 – we have heard both dates

Contact:  Corey Ellingson, crackerjackbirder@bis.midco, 701-400-5891

MedoraND, Theodore Roosevelt N.P. South Unit, ND, Christmas Bird Count,

 TBD, but likely 12/31/2023

Contact: Kevin Melzo,  kevin_melzo@nps.gov,  701-623-4730 ext 1403

 Theodore Roosevelt N.P., North Unit, ND, Christmas Bird Count

TBD, but maybe 1/1/2024

Contact:  Kevin Melzo, kevin_melzo@nps.gov, 701-623-4730 ext 1403


SOME MONTANA CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS

Miles City, MT, Christmas Bird Count, 

 12/18/23

Contact: Jennifer Muscha, jenmuscha@midrivers.com, 406-951-2799

Results of Christmas Bird Counts In the Past:

https://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count/american-birds-annual-summary-christmas-bird-count

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Link to  last year’s (2022-2023)  PHAS’s regional CBC announcement as posted on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/document/690938817/Final2-2022-23-CBC-Announce-122nd-final-2

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The Breeding Bird Survey 

is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service to monitor the status and trends of North American bird populations. Following a rigorous protocol, BBS data are collected by thousands of dedicated participants along thousands of randomly established roadside routes throughout the continent. For more information visit: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/  For more info, contact Laura Hubers, SD Coordinator: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/contactus/USContacts.cfm#SD

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February 16-19th, 2024, Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC

This event repeats annually. This next year it is February 16th-19th 2024. In February the world comes together for the love of birds.  https://www.birdcount.org,    or https://www.audubon.org/conservation/about-great-backyard-bird-count

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.

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Climate Watch – Winter Season – January 15th-February 15th, 2024
Climate Watch – The summer and winter seasons repeat each year.

Climate Watch is sponsored by the National Audubon Society (NAS) & takes place during two distinct seasons—winter (January 15-February 15) and summer (May 15-June 15). Below is the alert for any season (winter or summer) .

    Like the Christmas bird count this is a chance to help create “citizen science” for birds. Climate Watch focuses on these target species: Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Western Bluebird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Lesser Goldfinch, Painted Bunting, Eastern Towhee, and Spotted Towhee.

These birds are easy to identify, have an enthusiastic constituency, and Audubon’s climate models for these species offer strong predictions for range shifts for us to test. In future years, Climate Watch may include additional target species threatened by climate change. We believe that western bluebird and painted bunting are not normally in SD. All the other birds occur in all or parts of SD.

Visit this page to see where these birds are in SD, and which are near you:

Location Climate Watch focuses on areas of predicted change for these 12 species at each location across the continent. Audubon provides volunteers with online mapping tools with a grid of 10 km x 10 km squares showing species-specific predictions for each square based on the climate models. A Climate Watch Coordinator can help select your location and survey square. If you are participating on your own, use the online maps to decide in which square to do your surveys. You will be able to see which squares are already “claimed”.

How to count Volunteers should first make sure to read through all of the materials including the full protocol manual. The Climate Watch protocol is different than any other birding program. Then using the planning done with the online maps, volunteers survey appropriate habitat for the target species within a square and conduct 12 point counts of five minutes each within one morning, then record the number and species of all birds seen or heard within 100 meters. Participants send the data to the National Audubon Society.

How data will be used  Audubon’s 2019 climate change report, ‘Survival By Degrees, – https://www.audubon.org/climate/survivalbydegrees – reveals that up to two-thirds of North American birds are vulnerable to extinction due to climate change. For example, the beautiful Mountain Bluebird is vulnerable because in the vast majority of its summer range, the climate conditions that this bird needs—temperature, amount of rainfall, and other environmental factors—will shift northward and eastward. This bird may be able to move into new areas over time, or it may struggle to adapt. To test the report’s predictions, Audubon has developed Climate Watch, which aims to document species’ responses to climate change and test Audubon’s climate models by having volunteers in the field look for birds where Audubon’s climate models predict they will be in the 2020s. This information helps Audubon target our conservation work to protect birds. See the Climate Watch results page here to see our early reports and results from the data received by Climate Watch volunteers so far!

Link to the Climate-watch program on the National Audubon Society web page

https://www.audubon.org/conservation/climate-watch

Climate watch instructions for participants

Climate watch for beginners webinar, – this has much of the same info as our November meeting

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Game Fish and Parks Bio Blitz 2021

This event (GFP BB) was supposed to re-occur annually, but SDGFP discontinued it after the pandemic was over, believing folks could attend face-to-face events after pandemic,  but inaturalist still has national bio-blitzes .

There is a national program on Bio-blitzes, visit inaturalist web site to learn more – https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/bioblitz+guide

Here is information on the last one that SDGFP  had in 2021 May 22nd- June 6th, 2021

“Help South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) observe and identify species state-wide during SDGFP’s virtual BioBlitz from May 22nd-June 6th! A BioBlitz is an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area over a short period of time. Please join the project and contribute to the knowledge of biodiversity across the state by posting observations on iNaturalist . Download the iNaturalist app or visit the iNaturalist website (inaruralist.org). Create or sign into your account and join the project SD GFP BioBlitz 2021.”

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/sdgfp-bioblitz-2021

https://www.inaturalist.org/signup?return_to=https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/sdgfp-bioblitz-2021 –  Participation is free to everyone and prizes will be awarded to top observers!

 
bald eagle flap its wing from nest