Get Involved in the 2019 Spring Bird Count
Last May 5th (2018), 181 participants in the Cook County portion of the Illinois Spring Bird Count found 208 species, one off the county record of 209, set in 2015.
This year’s count will be held on May 4th, and we certainly hope that a number of our Chicago Audubon members, and other local birders can take part again. There are always areas that never get surveyed for the count, and always a few long-time participants that just aren’t able to help every year (we already need help covering some of those areas that some said they won’t be in town to help cover this year).
The Illinois Spring Bird Count was started in 1972 by Vern Kleen, then of the Illinois Department of Conservation (later the IDNR) and the Illinois Audubon Society. Since then, the count has been done yearly, the first Saturday of the year that falls between May 4th and May 10th. Some counties that have fewer birders hold their counts on the following Sunday so that they can attract more participants.
Due to many years of records that are collected around the same time each year, important comparisons can be researched of changing numbers and populations of our bird species occurring in the state. Volunteers record all birds seen or heard, along with the hours they spend in the field.
Each county has its own coordinator and compiler of results, who also helps recruit volunteers and assigns or lists areas that are covered in order to help ensure that most of the important bird habitats and locations are covered, and birds are not double counted.
Some participants have been taking part in SBC’s for years, or even decades, often covering the same area year after year (familiarity helps), while others join in and help cover with either some of those older groups, or new areas. We always can use new participants!
Bird clubs such as Illinois Audubon, National Audubon chapters, the Illinois Ornithological Society and other more local bird clubs help immensely on the count. Statewide coordination is now done by the Illinois Natural History Survey. Statewide results have been published in the IOS MEADOWLARK Journal for many years.
If you’d like to help on the Saturday May 4th, 2019 Spring Bird Count in Cook County, please contact county coordinator Alan Anderson, at casresearch@comcastnet.
Below is a list of recent Spring Bird Count dates, with total number of species found in Cook County, number of participants, and hours they spent counting birds.
May 5, 2018: 208 species, 437 hours, 181 observers in 93 parties
May 6, 2017: 184 species, 309 hours, 148 observers in 68 parties
May 7 2016: 205 species, 381 hours, 155 observers, 94 parties
May 9. 2015: ***209 species (our county record!), 427 hours, 172 observers, 88 parties
May 10, 2014: 205 species, 367 hours, 185 observers, 88 parties
May 4, 2013: 201 species
May 5, 2012: 193 species, 337 hours, 142 observers, 75 parties
May 7, 2011: 198 species
May 8, 2010: 188 species