The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) takes place annually from December 14 – January 5 and has been in existence for 118 years, making it the longest-running wildlife census in the country. Join with other birders to collect important information that is used to assess the health of the nation’s bird populations. For trends shown by CBC data, see the Audubon’s “State of the Birds” report at

ALL LEVELS ARE WELCOME: Beginning birders will be paired with more experienced


2020 LWAS Audubon Christmas Bird Count Dates  MORE ABOUT THE CBC

(Ann Joyal) 

Christmas Bird Counts this year will take on a different format to account for restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing and masks will be required. Other restrictions may be in place depending on Michigan guidelines. 

The following dates are tentative and please contact your compiler closer to the date, to make sure there are no further restrictions.  

  • December 19, 2020 (Saturday) – Marquette The compiler is Melinda Stamp at or 906-869-2489 

Contact Melinda if you would like to participate. 

  • December 20, 2020 (Sunday) – AuTrain 

The compiler is Scott Hickman at or 906-892-8603. Please use the email address for communication since count information is distributed by email. Please let Scott know at least 5 days in advance if you want to participate so that count circle coverage can be properly coordinated and communicated to all participants. 

There will be a third bird count for the area of Michigamme and the Peshekee Grade.
If you are interested, please contact Gary Palmer at if you are interested.


In addition to our Christmas Bird Counts in Marquette County, the Eastern UP has a number of interesting counts that I am listing below. Just in case you feel like an excursion, I am forwarding this message from Elliot Nelson. Contact information is listed for each count:

A few differences to help with COVID-19 safety for this year:
1) There will be no in-person gatherings before, during or after the count.
2) Individuals in the same car should only be from the same household or social “pod”
3) All state and federal COVID guidelines should be followed (Masks if indoors or less than 6ft from other people, etc).

Something else that is different this year is that we are having a major winter finch irruption year! There are much larger numbers across the EUP and Michigan this year of some of the most charismatic winter species like Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwings, Common Redpolls, Evening Grosbeaks and more!  It’s a great year to get out and bird the EUP! Here are some of the counts below. To join a count contact the coordinator or sign up using the registration form:

Mackinac Straits: December 16th
The pin for this count is right in the middle of the bridge! Lot’s of open water birding, plenty of feeders in towns and some nice wooded habitat.
Contact Steve Baker at:

Les Cheneaux: December 18th
This volunteer led effort takes place in the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands area of Cedarville, Hessel, Pickford and Stalwart. Lots of water viewing and cedar forests to explore, but also this count touches on the hay fields and grasslands of Pickford and  affording opportunities to see open field species. We will end the day with a virtual tally rally over zoom.
Contact Elliot Nelson at:
More info at:

Sault Ste Marie International: December 19th
This is one of the handful of international counts that takes place across Michigan between Michigan and Ontario. This count covers the always interesting St Mary’s River as well as a plethora of bird feeder areas and fruit trees along with a handful of wooded and open field areas.
Contact Carter Dorscht:
More info at:

Rudyard: December 29th
A truly unique count with some of the highest Snowy Owl and Sharp-tailed Grouse numbers in the whole nation! This count covers lots of open field areas but also includes wooded areas, towns with feeders and fruit trees and a landfill with huge gull and Bald Eagle numbers.
Contact Steve Baker at:

Other counts without defined dates yet, but who may still be looking for volunteers include:

Neebish Island and Dunbar: This count covers remote Neebish Island and the famous Dunbar park, owl loops around Lower Hay Lake Rd and Riverside Drive and the Munuscong WIldlife Management Area. A prime EUP winter birding area for sure!
Contact Greg Links at

Whitefish Point: Quite possibly the most well known birding hotspot in Michigan doesn’t disappoint in the winter. Although there are not a lot of roads to drive, the habitat is wonderful and winter finches abound. Spruce Grouse are also a unique feature of this count regularly encountered in most years.
Contact Charlie Weaver at

Hope you are able to get out there and count or count from home. Stay safe, stay warm, and bird on!

Elliot Nelson


  • Pre-count Information – 121st CBC
    2020 LWAS Audubon Christmas Bird Count Dates  MORE ABOUT THE CBC (Ann Joyal)  Christmas Bird Counts this year will take on a different format to account for restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus. A few differences to help with COVID-19 safety for this year:1) There will be no in-person gatherings before, during, or after the count.2) Individuals in the same …
  • Michigamme Highlands CBC Report
    The third annual Michigamme Highlands Christmas Bird Count was held last Sunday, 12/28. Eleven participants counted a total of 977 birds from 25species. This ties our species count from the first year and is up from 21 recorded in 2013. We added two new species this time, Barred Owl and Pine Siskin, which brings us to a cumulative total of 34 species over …
  • Gwinn Christmas Bird Count
    The 21st Gwinn Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on January 3, yielded exactly 1000 birds of 28 species. Historically, the CBC was originally conducted for eight years from 1980 to 1987. In 2002, the count was resurrected, shifted to early January, and completed every year except for one since.During the 1980’s, the Gwinn CBC averaged 20 species annually. Since 2002, …
  • Marquette 2014 Christmas Bird Count
    We experienced relatively warm weather and calm winds on Saturday, Dec. 20, and general consensus was that because of the good weather, birds were not concentrated in the areas they would be in worse conditions: feeders and harbors. Overall bird numbers seemed low, but we ended up with a respectable 44 species, plus 5 more during count week. Notable species: …