Christmas Bird Counts

2016 Banff-Canmore Christmas Bird Counts:

Varied Thrush. Photo by Michael ShusterBanff Christmas Bird Counts:

  • 1975-1989 : PDF
  • 1990-2008 : PDF
  • 2009-2017: PDF

Bow Summit Christmas Bird Counts:

  • 1975-1989: PDF
  • 1990-2007: PDF

Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are done throughout North America and in some tropical areas in Central America, northern South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands.  The activity began over a century ago in the U.S. as a protest of the existing Christmas tradition in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and other animals in one day.  In 2008, more than 57,000 volunteers were involved in over 2000 locations. Results from these counts may be used to help track bird populations as they respond to global climate change.

Standard procedure for CBCs requires that counting be done during one 24 hour period within a designated circle of 24 km. diameter.  The Banff-Canmore count circle has its centre on the Bow River below Mt. Rundle so as to include the Town of Banff west to Vermilion Lakes, and the Town of Canmore east to the Trans Canada – 1A Highway interchange.


BC Bird Count Map


Lapland Longspur found on 2017 Count. Photo by Kevin Barker

This massive, international volunteer ornithological effort is coordinated by the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. There is no cost to participate as Bird Studies Canada has taken on the role of  compiling all the data. After count results have been submitted, they may be viewed at: or

The Banff-Canmore count is traditionally followed by a potluck supper at the Banff Seniors Centre where results are compiled and stories exchanged about the day’s activities. The 2017 Banff-Canmore count will be on Saturday, December 16th. Contact us if you would like to participate.

Here is our updated checklist and participant form to give you an idea what you might see: