Christmas Bird Count - Citizen Science in Action

Red-tailed Hawk gets

by F. Portmann

New York City Audubon plays its part in the national survey of birds that takes place every year. The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists, and other interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. Click here for the full history and the compiled nationwide data.

An unusual species anytime of year for Central Park - Red-headed Woodpecker gets counted in 2010 and again in 2011!

by F. Portmann

The 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count took place from December 14 to January 5, and final tallies for New York City are now available! The count kicked off on the very first day in Manhattan (part of the New Jersey/Lower Hudson circle) and Queens, followed by Brooklyn and Staten Island on December 20, and the Bronx on December 28 (Bronx/Westchester circle). Altogether, there were over 189,000 individual birds counted in 157 species, noticeably higher than the 148 species counted last year!

We helped kick off Christmas Bird Count Season by hosting Manhattan's Central Park compilation, the place where the Count all began, as part of the New Jersey/Lower Hudson count circle. It was a beautiful, clear day with temperatures in the mid-40s. NYC Audubon had 103 participants join us for the count this year, a record number! Highlights included a red-shouldered hawk seen at the very end of the count near Belvedere Castle, a red-breasted nuthatch in the Great Lawn, three ring-necked ducks at the Reservoir, and a bald eagle during count week. Other counts took place that day in Inwood Hill, Riverside Park, Harlem, Bryant Park, East River Park, Battery Park, Stuyvesant Town, and at several sites in New Jersey, giving the New Jersey/Lower Hudson circle a total of 30,641 birds of 111 species.

Here are some other highlights from around the five boroughs, including New Jersey and Westchester: 

(Note: All CBC numbers are yet to be reviewed by regional editors, so numbers are subject to revision)

  • Several birds were only seen during count week, such as black vultures in both Staten Island and Bronx/Westchester, pileated woodpecker in Staten Island (a new bird for their count!), northern goshawk in New Jersey/Lower Hudson, Cassin’s kingbird in Brooklyn, and both greater white-fronted goose and cackling goose in Bronx/Westchester.
  • The Bronx/Westchester and Queens counts tied for highest total number of species counted with 124. Brooklyn was close behind with 123.
  • We didn’t have as many snowy owls this year (seven compared to 22 last year), but they were counted in Brooklyn and Queens, and also seen in Staten Island during count week.
  • Northern Manhattan had several unusual birds turn up, especially in and around Inwood Hill where counters saw a black-throated blue warbler, a Thayer’s gull, and a purple sandpiper. A golden eagle was also spotted in Riverside Park South.
  • Common ravens seem to be increasing their presence around the City, and this was reflected in this year’s count with three counted in New Jersey/Lower Hudson, eight in Bronx/Westchester, two in Queens, and one in Brooklyn.
  • Some species were found in one count only: New Jersey/Lower Hudson had one American bittern, one black-throated blue warbler, one Thayer’s gull, one golden eagle, and one Baltimore oriole; Queens had 59 redheads, three pine warblers, and one Wilson’s warbler; Staten Island had one Iceland gull and one Nashville warbler; Bronx/Westchester had one glaucous gull, one barred owl , one indigo bunting, one snowy egret, 14 eastern bluebirds, and one rose-breasted grosbeak; and Brooklyn had one short-eared owl, two Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, and one seaside sparrow. 
  • Bronx/Westchester had a record number of gadwall this year with 481, but also the lowest number of canvasback (3) there since they were missed in 1946. Canvasbacks were also missing from Brooklyn and Staten Island, but there were three counted in Queens and 26 counted in New Jersey/Lower Hudson.
  • Brooklyn had all-time high counts of red-breasted merganser (2,328), red-throated loons (137), and hairy woodpecker (12). Staten Island and Queens also had several all-time high counts this year.

Checklists for Central Park and for the entire New Jersey/Lower Hudson count can be found below:

Central Park Checklist

New Jersey/Lower Hudson Checklist

More details on the following counts can be found online:


To see this year’s results from all over the country as they come in, as well as to get historical data from years prior, visit Audubon’s website here


Results from Previous Counts 

Click below to see results of the 114th Christmas Bird Count in Central Park and the entire New Jersey/Lower Hudson region

Central Park Count

New Jersey/Lower Hudson Count

Click on an area below to view the results of the 113th Christmas Bird Count in Manhattan.

Central Park

Inwood Hill

Lower Manhattan

Riverside North

Riverside South

Stuyvesant Cove


Randall's Island





Click on an area below to view the results of the 112th Christmas Bird Count in Manhattan.

Central Park
Inwood Hill
Lower Manhattan
Riverside North
Riverside South
Stuyvesant Cove


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