It is difficult to believe we are only a few days away from another Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season, which will be from December 14 to January 5 this year (or two years, as it may be). This year, our state’s CBCs kickoff on Sunday when the North Platte and Branched Oak Lake-Seward CBC take place. There will be fourteen CBCs in Nebraska this year, from Harrison to Omaha and Scottsbluff to Ponca State Park.
This CBC season is exciting for me because I am resurrecting the Harlan County CBC. I organized and ran this count from 1996-2001. Last year in this post, I discussed how CBC data are useful in showing and understanding general changes in bird distribution. Once data are collected for the Harlan County CBC, it will be interesting to see what has changed since the the first CBC period. A couple notable changes I anticipate is the addition of the Eurasian Collared-Dove and the likely loss of the Black-billed Magpie to the species tally. During the earlier CBC period, we tallied about two dozen magpies each year. Finding one of this species may be real challenge, now, as its numbers have decline markedly in the last fifteen years. The dove, on the other hand, has become common to abundant in Nebraska during the past fifteen years.
If you are interested in participating in a CBC, a full run down is provided on the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union website. Contact information for each CBC compiler is also provided (tip, don’t wait until the last minute to contact a compiler!!).