This year, for the first time, two birding circles at Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park participating in the longest running
Citizen Science survey in the world: the Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird
Counts will take place across the country from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. Tens of
thousands of volunteers throughout North America will brave winter weather
to add a new layer to over a century of data.
“The Christmas Bird Count is all about the power of Citizen Science,” said
Geoff LeBaron, Audubon's Christmas Bird Count Director. “Our theme is ’I
Count’ because the work of tens of thousands of volunteers, extending over a
century, really adds up.”
Counts are often family or community traditions that make for fascinating
stories. Accuracy is assured by having new participants join an established
group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. Count volunteers
follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile diameter circle or can
arrange in advance to count the birds at home feeders inside the circle and
submit the results to a designated compiler.
A long standing community tradition will continue on Dec. 18 with the survey
at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore birding circle, which covers the
eastern part of the National Lakeshore and the State Park. “We have a
wonderful cadre of dedicated birders that have been doing this count for
many years, picking up the torch from the first dunes Christmas count
birders going back to December 24, 1916,” said State Park Chief Interpreter
Brad Bumgardner. “What we need are folks interested in counting birds at
their backyard bird feeders. If you live in Beverly Shores, Pines,
Chesterton, Porter, Dune Acres, or Michigan City from Washington Park and
west of Franklin Street, your back yard bird feeders will fall in the
circle.” Contact Brad Bumgardner before Dec. 18 at (219) 926-1390 to find
out how to get your birds to count.
Dec. 29 is the date for the inaugural count at the Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore West birding circle. Park Rangers and experienced birding
volunteers will lead bird counts in areas in the west sections of the park.
Contact Ranger Chirsty Gerlach by e-mail at
or (219)395-1885 to sign up for a hike in the park. If you live in Burns
Harbor, Portage, South Haven, or Ogden Dunes your bird feeders fall in this
circle. Contact Christy for more information on how your birds can count.
“The Christmas Bird Count becomes more important every year,” said Audubon
President David Yarnold. “The information gathered by its army of dedicated
volunteers leads directly to solutions. At a time when people wonder if
individual actions can make a difference, we know that our volunteers enable
scientists to learn about the impacts of environmental threats like climate
change and habitat loss. That’s good news not just for birds but for all of