Will Martens, Julia Yoshida, and John Edmondson survey birds in Great Meadows during last year’s count. Photos by Cris Van Dyke

Local birders will take part in annual bird count 

December 22, 2023

By Peter Alden 

Photo by Cris Van Dyke

One hundred birders will celebrate the last day of 2023 by counting birds — a tradition since 1960. 

A dozen field parties will fan out around town and residents will be checking their feeders and yards to count birds. Results are compiled by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

Concord is one of 14 participating towns in a 15-mile diameter circle centered near the Acton Stop and Shop. We have been doing this annually since 1960. Results are compiled by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  

The 1,000 or so count circles in the Americas count/estimate wintering birds and take note of gradual declines, increases or irruptive species. The data highlights conservation issues and can help identify climate and habitat changes that may need attention.  

While most birders hope to find a stray or rarity to boast about, the scientific value lies in the ups and downs of commoner birds. In the 1960’s, there were lots of pheasants, ruffed grouse, meadowlarks and evening grosbeaks which are no longer here. Others that were absent or rare then such as pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina wrens and mockingbirds are now common. 

Photo by Cris Van Dyke

Interested in getting involved? 

  • If you are a birder and might be interested in helping on December 31, contact Peter Alden at 978 369-5768 or peteralden@aol.com. Those assisting with the West Concord and Strawberry Hill sectors may meet at 11 Riverside Avenue at 7:30 a.m. to carpool. Bring binoculars and remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing and footwear choices. 
  • Will Martens will coordinate and can be reached at arnzal@verizon.net. If you spot something unusual, contact either of us, preferably with a photo.  
  • Feeder watchers try to count the maximum number of each species at the feeder or yard at one time. A newbie on a recent count ticked off every visit all day long of chickadees and claimed to have over 400 chickadees. Do not do that. Chuck Gibson will accept your sightings at cgibson@mit.edu,  preferably submitted in the afternoon of December 31. Send a brief email to Chuck in advance giving your name and street address. In Conantum, a separate feeder count will be organized by Susan Clark at sbc@mercury.lcs.mit.edu.