Christmas Bird Count
About the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)
The CBC is an annual census of birds conducted across three continents. The all-volunteer effort, which is scheduled between December 14 and January 5, takes a snapshot of bird populations to monitor their status and distribution across the Western Hemisphere. You can learn more about the CBC at Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
About the Topeka CBC
The Topeka CBC is conducted within a 7.5 mile radius of the Capitol building with this area being divided into smaller sections. Volunteers who take part in the Christmas Bird Count are divided into teams with each team counting within their specific section. The Topeka count teams spend an entire day, often starting before dawn, counting/recording all the birds seen or heard within their count area. At the end of the day, the team members come together, usually with a potluck meal, to compile their results.
Count Day & Week
The Topeka CBC occurs on a Saturday in December, after the 14th. See our calendar for the exact date. The official count period starts on Wednesday and ends the following Tuesday. Any birds seen during the count week but not on the count day are included as count week birds.
Participate in the Topeka CBC
There are two options for participating in the Topeka CBC. You can count the birds at your feeder on the count day or you can join a team and count birds in the field. You do not have to be an expert to participate. Beginners will be teamed up with more experienced birders. If you would like to join one of the CBC teams or would like to count birds at your feeder, contact us.
This KDOT map of the City of Topeka (PDF) is a useful tool when planning your day of counting birds. Besides streets, it shows bodies of water and parks. To print on 4 pages, select "Page Scaling: Tile Large Pages" and "Tile Scale: 35%".
The Checklist Worksheet (PDF) is a one page sheet of the most commonly seen species for the Topeka CBC. Species are divided into subcategories to make it faster to record counts, while in the field. It also has space for to write in species not on the form.
Historic Summary by Year
The first known published Topeka Christmas Bird Count was done on December 22, 1919. Since then, documented records of a Christmas Bird Count exist for Topeka for every year, except the years between 1923 through 1946. The following table summarizes observers, birds seen and species seen by year for all Topeka CBC's.