Chenango Bird Club Participating In Christmas Bird Count On Saturday
Published: December 14th, 2022
By: Sarah Genter

Chenango Bird Club participating in Christmas Bird Count on Saturday The Chenango Bird Club will be participating in the National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 17. Non-club members are welcome to participate, and can sign up and receive more information at the Chenango Bird Club meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14 at the Visitors Center at Rogers Center in Sherburne. (Photo by Dustin Genter of 5th Dimension Photography)

SHERBURNE ― The Chenango Bird Club will be participating in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 17 in Sherburne. The event is put on by the National Audubon Society annually to collect data on bird populations across the country, and is now on its 123rd year.

"It’s good science because it helps people realize what is happening to the birds in real time. We can see that bird populations are increasing or decreasing or certain species of bird is increasing or decreasing in this area," said Chenango Bird Club President John Knapp. "And then if you take all the circles all across America, or all across the world, and put them in a database, there’s lots of information they can get out of that."

On Saturday, the club will have a 24-hour window, beginning at 12 a.m. on Saturday and ending at 12 a.m. Sunday, to find as many birds as they can in a 7.5-mile radius, with the center being at the intersection of Route 12 and Route 80 in downtown Sherburne.

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Participants are looking not only for different bird species, but also how many of each species they spot. Knapp said birds can be identified and included in the count by both sight and sound.

"There are some people that will get started at 2 a.m., and what they do is they go out and they listen for owls, because you can count a bird if you can hear its call and identify that call," he said. "You have to keep track of the different species and the number. So if I see three crows, I have to write down three. If I see a big flock of them I have to try to count as accurately as I can. And if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll see a bald eagle or something."

After the bird count concludes, the results will be compiled and sent to the National Audubon Society to assist in their bird conservation efforts.

The Christmas Bird Count is not just open to club members; Knapp said interested members of the public are welcome to participate as well.

To get the most out of the bird count, he recommends attending the Chenango Bird Club's meeting on Wednesday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Visitors Center at Friends of Rogers in Sherburne. There, Knapp said they will receive a map showing their assigned area, as well as a checklist to help them keep track of birds they spot that day.

"If they come to the meeting they will get a map of what they need, of where they will be assigned, and they will also get a checklist that they can use to help them write down all the stuff they need to do. Like when they start, when they stop, how many miles they cover, how many hours they’re out bird watching," said Knapp.

Those that can't make the meeting can also contact the club's circle compiler Mike DeWispelaere at for more information.

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The Chenango Bird Club has been participating in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count since the late 1970s, and Knapp said on average the club is able to identify between 45 and 55 species each year. Last year, their total was 52 species of birds identified.

"We would be extremely happy if we see that many again," said Knapp.

All Chenango Bird Club meetings are open to the public. The club meets between the months of April and December, with meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, usually at the Visitors Center at Rogers Center in Sherburne.

The club is also always accepting new members, according to Knapp. For more information on the Chenango Bird Club and to become a member, contact Knapp at 607-372-1242 or

Although December marks the end of this year's Chenango Bird Club season, members are looking forward to an exciting season in 2023. The club will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, and hosting several special events.

One event Knapp is especially excited for is a visit from Janet Allen, president and co-founder of the Syracuse Wild Ones chapter of Habitat Gardening of Central New York.

"This woman is incredible. She’s going to give us a talk on how to plant your yard to increase bird habitat. So that is a very exciting thing," said Knapp. "We’re very happy to have her coming."

The presentation by Allen was a combined effort of the Chenango Bird Club, the Town and Country Garden Club, and Guernsey Memorial Library. Allen will be providing the talk on bird habitats and gardening at 6:30 p.m. at the Guernsey Memorial Library, during the Chenango Bird Club's first meeting of the year.