The 121st Annual Christmas Bird Count in Vermont

By Kent McFarland November 30, 2020
White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera

The 121st Christmas Bird Count will take place from December 14 through January 5. This is perhaps the longest running citizen science project in Vermont. Each count occurs in a designated circle, 15 miles in diameter, and is led by an experienced birder, or designated “compiler”. Read more to learn where Vermont CBCs are located, date of counts and compiler contact information.

The longest running citizen science program in the world, the count originally began on Christmas Day in 1900 when ornithologist and legendary birder and ornithologist Frank Chapman posed an alternative to an earlier traditional holiday “side hunt.” Chapman proposed “hunting” birds to record their numbers. Instead of firing a shotgun, now we have an annual snapshot. Decades of data have added up to results envied by other scientists who don’t enjoy such a fleet of volunteer help, or creatures as easily seen and counted as birds.

While there is a specific methodology to the CBC and you need to count birds within an existing Christmas Bird Count circle, everyone can participate! If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. If your home is within the boundaries of a Christmas Bird Count circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeder or join a group of birdwatchers in the field. If you have never been on a CBC before and you want to participate in a count this year, including feeder counting, please contact your count compiler prior to the count.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that all participants stay up-to-date with the Vermont COVID Guideline Updates, which change frequently with changing infection rates. Additionally, we are listing any COVID-specific information that we receive from CBC count compilers with their contact information below. Please contact your count compiler if you have any additional questions. We will continue updating this page as CBC compilers get back to us.

Would you like to explore the data from seasons past or see a map of count circles? Visit the Christmas Bird Count home page to learn more.

Are you planning on adding your observations to Vermont eBird too? Check out this short article about helpful hints.

VERMONT COUNTS (view map):

Jan. 1, 2021
Contact: Charlie Brown –

COVID Guidelines: Assigned parties are no larger than 2 people, a zoom meeting will be held for wrap-up.


Contact: Kevin Hemeon –

Dec. 19, 2020
Contact: Cory Ross –

COVID Guidelines: Follow state guidelines. Participants may only bird with members of their household, and as a result, routes are being broken down into smaller sections. Participants are strongly encouraged to conduct feeder counts, if possible. The compilation event will be held on zoom. Updates can be found here.

Dec. 20, 2020
Contact: Elizabeth Mitchell Spinney –
Compiler: Eric Lazarus –

Champlain Islands/St. Albans
Dec. 20, 2020
Contact: Terry Marron –

COVID Guidelines: Following National Audubon guidelines. CBC sector routes only available to past participants, only one household per car. Sector leaders will decide how to break up their sector. “Countdown” meetings will occur after the event on zoom.

East Franklin County
Jan. 2, 2021
Contact: Annette Goyne –

COVID Guidelines: Following National Audubon guidelines. CBC sector routes only available to past participants, only one household per car. Sector leaders will decide how to break up their sector. “Countdown” meetings will occur after the event on zoom.


Contact: Mike Winslow –

Jan. 1, 2021
Contact: Nancy Martin and Walter Ellison –

There will be no meeting in front of Hopkins Center at 7:00 AM and of course no countdown at the end of the day. We will be collecting observations via eBird for those that use it and adding in other’s sightings to make the overall list.


Contact: Paul Wieczoreck –

Hunger Mountain
Dec. 20, 2020
Contact: Zach Cota-Weaver-

COVID Guidelines: Can participate as a feeder water, as a socially-distant team member, or as a remote scout. sign-up and more information at:

Island Pond


Lamoille County

Contact: Noel Dodge –

Mad River Valley/Northfield

Contact: Mad Birders –

Dec. 20, 2020
Contact: Jim and Kris Andrews – or 802-352-4734

Follow VT CDC guidelines. A zoom compilation will occur after the count.

Mt. Abraham
Jan. 2, 2021
Contact: Randy Durand –

COVID Guidelines: COVID guidelines will be emailed to participants.

Dec. 19, 2020
Contact: Sean Beckett –

COVID guidelines: No carpooling or indoor gatherings, no evening potluck this year, multiple households can only complete walking routes together if the Governor’s restrictions allow it on Dec 19th.

Plattsburgh, NY (reaches the VT Champlain islands)

Contact: Michael Burgess –

Randolph Area

Contact: Brian Lowe –

Jan. 2, 2021
Contact: Rutland Audubon –

Keep checking their website for COVID updates.

Saxton’s River

Contact: Don Clark –

Dec. 20, 2020
Contact: Marianne and Michael Walsh –

Dec. 19, 2020
Contact: Ruth Stewart –

Dec. 17, 2020
Contact: Sally Laughlin –