Fort Bend Birders Launch new Christmas Bird Count

Fort Bend Birders met recently to plan a new Fort Bend Christmas Bird Count scheduled for December 20, 2022.

A group of local birders is launching a new Fort Bend Christmas Bird Count (CBC) to be held this year on Tuesday, December 20th.

“I noticed there was a gap in Fort Bend. The Brazos Bend CBC has been happening for nearly 40 years and the Peach Creek Count in Wharton County was started 3 years ago, but many of the top hotspots in Fort Bend were not included in a CBC. Fortunately, I found the birding community was very supportive and ready to go,” said Count Compiler Bayard Nicklow.

Birders of all levels are invited to sign up for the Fort Bend CBC and join the Count organizers for a fun day of birding, friendly competition and a countdown dinner where the count tally and Best Birds of the Count will be revealed. To participate or for more information, please e-mail the Count Compiler: Bayard Nicklow

The inaugural Fort Bend CBC circle includes 8 of the top 13 birding hotspots in Fort Bend County – including Cullinan Park, Seabourne Creek Park and Riverpark Nature Trails. The predefined count circle is divided into sectors in Sugar Land, Richmond and Rosenberg and covers a wide range of habitats including hardwood forests, lakes, creeks, wetlands, Brazos River bottomland and coastal prairie that should yield a wide variety of species. On the day of the CBC, small groups of birders go out to an assigned territory to count all individual birds of each species seen. Together, these groups cover a 15-mile-diameter circle.

Participants with less experience are teamed with more experienced birders. Photographers are encouraged to document birds seen. While most birding groups cover several miles on foot, it’s also possible to do a stationary count. Even if newer birders can’t identify every bird, they provide important “extra eyes” in finding birds.

This year marks the 123rd Christmas Bird Count.  Sponsored by the National Audubon Society and conducted by volunteers, thousands of counts will be held throughout the U.S. and Canada between December 14th and January 5th. The counts attempt to record every individual bird encountered within a defined 15-mile diameter — about 177 square miles — during one calendar day.

The counts began on December 25th, 1900, when a small group of bird lovers led by scientist Frank Chapman posed an alternative to the Christmastime “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals. Chapman’s group identified, counted, and recorded all the birds they saw, thus founding one of the world’s first and largest “community science” initiatives.