Augusta CBC

The Augusta Birding Club has been participating in the Christmas Count since 1970 and has counted over 350,000 birds over that time. About 30 members of the Augusta Birding Club will fan out on Count Day to see and record as many birds as possible within a 15-mile diameter circle centered on the State House.

2024 Audubon Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, December 14th

1st backup: Sunday, December 15th

2nd backup: Sunday, December 28th

For questions on section assignments or about getting involved with the CBC, please email Cheryl Ring:

2023 Christmas Bird Count

Saturday, December 16th

Red Crossbill, West Gardiner, on count day

Thirty-one of us spread out around the area (7.5 mile radius from the State House dome) to find all the birds we could. It was an above-average year for the number of species (59) on count day, plus two other species during count week.

It was the first year (count started in 1970) that Blue-Headed Vireo was seen and our first Osprey on count day. Red-throated Loon and Sandhill Crane occurred for the second time in count history. Canada Jay appeared during count week for the first time. Unusual birds included Common Grackle (first since 1993), Great-horned Owl, Bufflehead, Red Crossbill (first since 2008), and Wood Duck (count week).

We had a record high number of Bald Eagles (twice the previous high!), Barred Owl, Belted Kingfisher (tie), Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Common Loon, Eastern Bluebird, and Great Blue Heron (tie). It was a good year for the first half of the alphabet. There was a high number of Golden-crowned Kinglets and White-throated Sparrows, and a low number of Wild Turkeys. Some of our irregular winter northern visitors were absent (Bohemian Waxwing, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, and Snow Bunting). Hopefully some of these will make their way south later in the winter.

Full list of species and number of each
American Black Duck 13
American Crow 2612
American Goldfinch 392
American Robin 51
American Tree Sparrow 30
Bald Eagle 213
Barred Owl 3
Belted Kingfisher 4
Black-capped Chickadee 729
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 198
Brown Creeper 24
Bufflehead 3
Canada Goose 260
Carolina Wren 8
Cedar Waxwing 16
Common Goldeneye 22
Common Grackle 3
Common Loon 18
Common Merganser 138
Common Raven 32
Common Redpoll 5
Cooper’s Hawk 3
Dark-eyed Junco 263
Downy Woodpecker 29
Eastern Bluebird 106
European Starling 773
Golden-crowned Kinglet 53
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Horned Owl 1
Hairy Woodpecker 28
Hermit Thrush 1
Herring Gull 483
Hooded Merganser 66
House Finch 124
House Sparrow 187
Mallard 204
Mourning Dove 111
Northern Cardinal 73
Northern Flicker 1
Northern Mockingbird 2
Osprey 1
Pileated Woodpecker 6
Pine Siskin 23
Purple Finch 16
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Red-Breasted Nuthatch 43
Red Crossbill 12
Red-tailed Hawk 8
Red-throated Loon 1
Ring-billed Gull 55
Rock Pigeon 263
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 3
Sandhill Crane 2
Song Sparrow 12
Tufted Titmouse 126
White-breasted Nuthatch 147
White-throated Sparrow 57
Wild Turkey 10
2022 Christmas Bird Count

December 18, 2022

Twenty-six of us covered the 15 sections in the Augusta CBC which was moved back a day because of a winter storm. Overall, the number of species and individual birds was average to below average. We had 49 species compared to an average of 53 in the previous 10 years, and a total of 5580 birds. We had the lowest number of Mallards (29) since 2004 but a record count high (since 1970) of 375 Canada Geese. Eastern Bluebird numbers continue to increase for the count and we had a record number of 105 this year. In contrast, we had record low numbers of American Tree Sparrows (15).

Winter finches were pretty much absent but we did have an average number of Purple Finches (15) and one group of 12 Evening Grosbeaks. Our most unusual bird was a Red-shouldered Hawk, for only the second year in count history. In other count news, we continued our streak of seeing Belted Kingfishers with one seen this year. There were two Iceland Gulls found among the other gulls.

Iceland Gull, Gardiner Landing, Dec 18, 2022, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

Here’s a list of all the species with the number seen:

American Black Duck 4
American Crow 849
American Goldfinch 207
American Robin 46
American Tree Sparrow 15
Bald Eagle 47
Belted Kingfisher 1
Black-capped Chickadee 684
Blue Jay 272
Brown Creeper 5
Canada Goose 375
Carolina Wren 2
Cedar Waxwing 47
Common Goldeneye 5
Common Loon 2
Common Merganser 117
Common Raven 23
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Dark-eyed Junco 97
Downy Woodpecker 55
Eastern Bluebird 105
European Starling 493
Evening Grosbeak 12
Golden Crowned Kinglet 2
Great Black-backed Gull 4
Hairy Woodpecker 38
Herring Gull 353
Hooded Merganser 37
House Finch 147
House Sparrow 180
Iceland Gull 2
Mallard 29
Mourning Dove 458
Northern Cardinal 108
Northern Mockingbird 2
Pileated Woodpecker 5
Purple Finch 15
Red-bellied Woodpecker 12
Red-breasted Nuthatch 12
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 9
Ring-billed Gull 35
Rock Pigeon 293
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Song Sparrow 5
Tufted Titmouse 172
White-breasted Nuthatch 119
White-throated Sparrow 7
Wild Turkey 70

2021 Audubon Christmas Bird Count

December 18, 2021

Thirty-three of us covered the 15 sections in the Augusta CBC and found 11,319 birds. We had a high number of species for recent years. Overall, bird numbers for the circle were typical but some weren’t in typical locations, likely because of the below-average ice cover and lack of snow cover. We had 59 count-day species and 2 additional count-week ones, including our first ever (in the 50 years of our count) Clay-colored Sparrow and White-winged Scoter.

We had record counts of Barred Owl (3), Carolina Wren (6), Chipping Sparrow (2), Common Loon (tie) (12), Eastern Bluebird (49), Great Blue Heron (tie) (3), Northern Flicker (tie) (3), and Ring-billed Gull (713). We had our first Northern Goshawk since 2009, first Bufflehead since 2011, first Ring-necked Duck since 2014, and 7th Hermit Thrush in count history.

Winter finches were pretty much absent but we did have 1 Common Redpoll and 9 Purple Finches.

Barred Owl on 2021 CBC, photo by Glenn Hodgkins
Eastern Bluebird on 2021 CBC, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

All the birds:

American Black Duck 6
American Crow 5399
American Goldfinch 553
American Robin 67
American Tree Sparrow 59
Bald Eagle 32
Barred Owl 3
Belted Kingfisher 1
Black-capped Chickadee 853
Blue Jay 279
Brown Creeper 14
Bufflehead 1
Canada Goose 252
Carolina Wren 6
Cedar Waxwing 11
Clay-colored Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
Common Goldeneye 36
Common Loon 12
Common Merganser 39
Common Raven 12
Common Redpoll 1
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Dark-eyed Junco 90
Downy Woodpecker 71
Eastern Bluebird 49
European Starling 237
Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
Great Black-backed Gull 4
Great Blue Heron 3
Hairy Woodpecker 27
Hermit Thrush 1
Herring Gull 347
Hooded Merganser 54
House Finch 205
House Sparrow 195
Mallard 67
Merlin cw
Mourning Dove 371
Northern Cardinal 109
Northern Flicker 3
Northern Goshawk 1
Northern Mockingbird 4
Northern Shrike 1
Pileated Woodpecker 13
Pine Siskin cw
Purple Finch 9
Red-bellied Woodpecker 8
Red-Breasted Nuthatch 28
Red-tailed Hawk 13
Ring-billed Gull 713
Ring-necked Duck 1
Rock Pigeon 491
Ruffed Grouse 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Song Sparrow 10
Tufted Titmouse 201
White-breasted Nuthatch 161
White-throated Sparrow 6
White-winged Scoter 1
Wild Turkey 176

2020 Audubon Christmas Bird Count Summary, Augusta circle

Thanks for everyone’s efforts on count day and Cheryl’s efforts organizing the count, we ended up with a record year for many species. I wanted to point out Logan and Hallee in particular, walking 7 miles with their 3-month-old baby! We had 59 species (highest since 2006) plus a count-week Northern Flicker, and a total of 9663 birds on count day.
We did break our 50-year record for Pine Grosbeaks. We ended up with a modest number of Common Redpolls, Snow Buntings, Pine Siskins, and Bohemian Waxwings, and a single Evening Grosbeak. We had our first White-winged Crossbills since 2006.
This year must be a record for number of species high counts. We had record numbers of Black-capped Chickadee, Carolina Wren (tie), Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebird, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker (tie), Red-breasted Nuthatch, Red-tailed Hawk, Tufted Titmouse, and White-breasted Nuthatch. The Red-breasted Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse numbers were more than double the old record. We had our second-highest counts of Brown Creeper, Canada Goose, Hairy Woodpecker, and Mallard.
We had a good number of unusual/rare species for the winter in this part of Maine, including a Gray Catbird, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Lesser Scaup, and Hermit Thrush. There’s a full species list with numbers below.
American Black Duck 28
American Crow 2059
American Goldfinch 173
American Robin 94
American Tree Sparrow 39
Bald Eagle 50
Belted Kingfisher 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1318
Blue Jay 442
Bohemian Waxwing 14
Brown Creeper 21
Canada Goose 300
Carolina Wren 5
Cedar Waxwing 35
Common Goldeneye 41
Common Loon 4
Common Merganser 106
Common Raven 13
Common Redpoll 26
Cooper’s Hawk 4
Dark-eyed Junco 137
Downy Woodpecker 88
Eastern Bluebird 36
European Starling 769
Evening Grosbeak 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 5
Gray Catbird 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Hairy Woodpecker 66
Hermit Thrush 1
Herring Gull 294
Hooded Merganser 31
House Finch 198
House Sparrow 253
Lesser Scaup 1
Mallard 407
Merlin 1
Mourning Dove 430
Northern Cardinal 185
Northern Flicker cw
Northern Mockingbird 1
Northern Shrike 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Pileated Woodpecker 15
Pine Grosbeak 130
Pine Siskin 11
Purple Finch 18
Red-bellied Woodpecker 10
Red-Breasted Nuthatch 208
Red-tailed Hawk 27
Ring-billed Gull 15
Rock Pigeon 761
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Snow Bunting 17
Song Sparrow 8
Tufted Titmouse 320
White-breasted Nuthatch 282
White-throated Sparrow 22
White-winged Crossbill 5
Wild Turkey 132

2019 Audubon Christmas Bird Count Summary, Augusta circle

Despite the impression of low numbers from our windy day, the species total (52 count day, plus 1 additional species for count week) and numbers for many species were about average. We actually had record numbers for some species. Some notable birds and numbers:
  • Turkey Vulture was a new count species, not seen in our 50 years of counting
  • The Merlin was our first for count day, we had one count week in 1987
  • Record totals for Northern Flicker (3), Common Goldeneye (125), Common Merganser (256), and Hooded Merganser (78)
  • 2nd highest for American Crow (11,282), Belted Kingfisher (3), and Common Loon (8)
  • 3rd highest for American Robin (100), Bald Eagle (72), Cedar Waxwing (305), and Red-tailed Hawk (10)
  • Peregrine Falcon (count week), first since 2008
  • High numbers for Brown Creeper
  • Low numbers for American Tree Sparrow, Blue Jay, Hairy Woodpecker (lowest since 1995), Mourning Dove, and Wild Turkey (by far the lowest since they started appearing in numbers in the 2000 CBC).
  • A single Bohemian Waxwing
  • No Redpolls, Siskins, Grosbeaks, or Crossbills
Thanks to our 31 counters who dedicated all or part of their day to this effort, counting 16,396 birds, and particularly to Cheryl Ring for organizing everything.
Red-breasted Nuthatch on count day, photo by Glenn Hodgkins
White-breasted Nuthatch on count day, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

Complete list and numbers: Here, the column “Number or cw” in the checklist part of the PDF is how many of each species we saw this year. The column “Max Number” refers to the entire 1970-2019 period for the Augusta CBC with the first number being the maximum recorded and the second number being the count year (2019 is Audubon count year 120). The “# Of Counts” column refers to the number of years that each species has been seen in the Augusta CBC (50 would be every year).

2018 Audubon Christmas Bird Count Summary

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Augusta Christmas Bird Count on December 16 and special thanks to Cheryl Ring for her great CBC organizing. Thirty-two of us walked 32 miles and drove 725 miles, looking for birds within 7.5 miles of the Statehouse dome. The species total of 53 on count day was about average. We also had two count-week species, Barred Owl and Great Blue Heron. We had a couple new records for high counts and several species had much higher than average (count has been going since 1970). Species such as Eastern Bluebird and Red-bellied Woodpeckers continue to increase in our area in the winter. There were low numbers of a couple duck species likely because of the low amount of open water. For irruptive birds, we had a lot of Bohemian Waxwings and some Pine Grosbeaks but no Evening Grosbeaks or Common Redpolls. Rare or unusual sparrows for our CBC included White-Crowned, Chipping, and Fox. See all the numbers and counts below the next section.

Notable species/counts (alphabetically)

  • American Black Duck (2 of them), tied for second lowest count
  • American crow (15,615), by far the most ever, mostly because of the 15,000 crows coming into roost
  • Bald Eagle (47), 3rd highest year
  • Belted Kingfisher (3), tied for 2nd highest year
  • Bohemian Waxwing (305), 4th highest year
  • Chipping Sparrow (1), 3rd bird ever
  • Common Goldeneye (1), tied for lowest year
  • Eastern Bluebird (16), 3rd highest year
  • Fox Sparrow (2), 3rd year ever, first since 1999
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull (1), 5th year ever
  • Northern Cardinal (123), 4th highest year
  • Pileated Woodpecker (16), 3rd highest year
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker (9), 2nd highest year
  • Red-tailed Hawk (9), 4th highest year
  • Tufted Titmouse (149), highest year
  • White-breasted Nuthatch (176), 3rd highest year
  • White-crowned Sparrow (1), 3rd year ever, first on count day since 1977
  • White-throated Sparrow (26), 4th highest year
  • Wild Turkey (458), 2nd highest year

Complete list and numbers: Count Summary Report 2018, the column “Number” in the checklist part of the PDF is how many of each species we saw this year. The column “Max Number” refers to the entire 1970-2018 period for the Augusta CBC with the first number being the maximum recorded and the second number being the count year (2018 is Audubon count year 119). The “# Of Counts” column refers to the number of years that each species has been seen in the Augusta CBC (49 would be every year).

Since 1970 the Augusta Birding Club has counted all birds we can find in one day near Christmas, as part of Audubon’s large international effort. Currently 30+ Birding Club members count birds in a 7.5 mile radius around the State House Dome. It’s amazing what’s out there when you look; we typically find 5000+ individual birds of 50+ species. We have counted almost 300,000 birds since 1970.

2017 Audubon Christmas Bird Count Summary, Augusta circle

Augusta CBC 2017 video by Curry Caputo (link to YouTube) See Andrea, Curry, and family on their 2017 CBC adventure:

Northern Pintail, Augusta CBC 2017, photo by Glenn Hodgkins
Wood Duck and Hooded Mergansers, Augusta CBC 2017, photo by
Glenn Hodgkins
Augusta CBC coordinated by Cheryl Ring and Glenn Hodgkins