Contributed by Lois Ports for Bristlecone Audubon

Audubon’s 119th Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Friday, December 14, 2018 through Saturday, January 5, 2019. There are presently 18 counts held in Nevada. The local count for the Elko and Spring Creek areas will be held on Saturday, December 15, 2018. This count is sponsored by the Bristlecone Audubon Chapter. 

There is a specific methodology to the CBC, and all participants must make arrangements to participate in advance with the circle compiler within an established circle, but anyone can participate. The compiler for this local count is Lois Ports.  She can be contacted at or at 775-753-2569.

The Elko/Spring Creek count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle whose center point is located on the Jiggs Highway. Count volunteers follow specified routes through the designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. If your home is within the boundaries of a CBC circle, then you can stay at home and report the birds that visit your feeder on count day as long as you have made prior arrangement with the count compiler.

If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. There is no cost to participate. The Christmas Bird Count relies 100 percent on donations to provide support to compilers and volunteers on count day, to manage the historic database, and to fund the technology to make historic data available to researchers. 

The data collected by observers over the past century allow Audubon researchers, conservation biologists, wildlife agencies and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The data collected by Christmas Bird Count participants over the past years provide a wealth of information to researchers interested in the long-term study of early winter bird populations across North America. To date over 200 peer-reviewed articles have resulted from analysis done with Christmas Bird Count data. The historical results of over 112 years of the Christmas Bird Count can be viewed at Audubon is constantly assessing and improving the quality of the CBC database and aspires to maintain the highest data integrity possible given current ornithological thinking. The long term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well. 

Last year twenty-three participating birdwatchers counted 69 species with a total of 9,316 individual birds within the Elko/Spring Creek Circle. Come join the members of Bristlecone Audubon as they hold their 29th Elko/Spring Creek Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 15, 2018.  Everyone is welcome and all levels of experience can participate, new birders will be partnered with experienced members. Groups will go out on assigned routes which take an average of 4 to 6 hours to complete. At 4:30 p.m. all count information is turned in at the annual potluck dinner where the data is compiled and preliminary results can be announced.  For more information contact: Lois Ports at 775-753-2569 or by Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.