MDC encourages birders to help with Audubon Christmas Bird Count

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages experienced birders to become citizen scientists by helping with the National Audubon Society’s 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 – including about 20 counts in Missouri.

The CBC is an annual bird census where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many countries in the Western Hemisphere count birds over a 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. CBCs gather data on winter bird populations to track their long-term trends. Each CBC has a coordinator that assigns portions of a 15-mile diameter count circle to participants to count all birds seen and heard. Learn more at

Missouri hosts about 20 CBCs, some of which are listed below. If interested in participating, contact the CBC organizer listed.

  • Mingo National Wildlife Refuge on Dec. 15 – Contact Bill Eddleman at;
  • Big Oak Tree State Park on Dec. 17 – Contact Bill Eddleman at;
  • Trimble (Smithville Lake, Clay and Clinton Counties) on Dec. 15 – Contact Kristi Mayo at;
  • Maramec Springs on Dec. 15 - Contact Louise Wilkinson at;
  • Columbia on Dec. 15 – Contact Laura Hillman at;
  • Big Spring on Dec. 14 – Contact Steve Paes at;
  • St. Joseph on Dec. 15 – Contact Tom Nagel at;
  • Poplar Bluff on Dec. 21 – Contact Bruce Beck at;
  • Cole Camp Prairies on Dec. 27 – Contact Ryan Steffens at;
  • Liberal on Dec. 21 – Contact Dana Hoisington at;
  • Kansas City/Unity Village on Dec. 30 – Contact Mike Stoakes at;
  • Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary on Jan. 1 – Contact Randy Korotev at; and
  • Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 1 – Contact Steve Kinder at

For a full list of CBCs, visit

MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick offers these CBC tips:

  • If you’ve never participated in a CBC, tell the organizer so they can place you with an existing team of birders.
  • Share your level of birding knowledge when you contact the CBC organizer so they can make sure you’re with a team with the experience to properly identify birds seen or heard.
  • Dress warmly. Most CBCs will be held regardless of weather unless inclement weather is dangerous.
  • Bring snacks and beverages to stay fueled for a long day.

For more information on Missouri birds, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at