BCR 184: Geoff LeBaron, Director, Audubon Christmas Bird Count


Geoff LaBaron, is the Director of the Christmas Bird Count International for the National Audubon Society, a position Geoff has held since 1987. Geoff is an integral member of the Audubon Science Division, Geoff also works on the other Community Science projects including Climate Watch, Hummingbirds at Home, and the Great Backyard Bird Count, as well as ornithological and birding advisor on projects from the Conservation Science team. 

The first CBCs were done on Christmas Day of 1900, as a program to count birds rather than hunt them during the Holidays. Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, Dr. Frank M. Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore   proposed a new holiday tradition that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So began the Christmas Bird Count. 120 years later, the tradition continues and still manages to bring out the best in people and contribute valuable data to the worldwide scientific community.

Show Notes:

  • When did the CBC start, and why?
  • Who were the Founders and where was the first CBC?
  • Basic notion of count circle and how is it determined?
  • Current talk about citizen science, in reality the CBC is the longest running wildlife census and relies almost entirely on volunteers. What is the impact of this data as a scientific tool?
  • Why has CBC data been so vital to our understanding of birds and is it still relevant today?
  • What are the drawbacks to CBC data?
  • The CBC has long been aware of the vagaries of individual sightings, how do you ensure that sightings and counts are relatively accurate?
  • The diversity of CBC’s, in terms of locations and countries.
  • Starting a new CBC, what are the requirements?
  • How does the CBC differ from eBird and why is it still relevant today?
  • How can eBird and the CBC’s compliment each other or be used together for those who utilize eBird?
  • If you were to start CBC count efforts from scratch, would there be a better time period, from the strictly science perspective, to do this?

Mentioned In Episode:

Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count told by Chan Robbins 

Christmas Bird Count History

BCR 083: Chandler S. Robbins; 1st For The Record, Legacy Interview™ Series – BirdCallsRadio™

National Audubon Society

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