Jordan Lake Christmas Bird Count

Bonaparte's Gull Bonaparte’s Gull -Photo by Norm Budnitz

New Hope Audubon sponsors the Jordan Lake Christmas Bird Count (CBC) each year in collaboration with the National Audubon Society, in a count circle centered in the area of Jordan Lake in Chatham County (count circle map).  The count is done on one designated day, often starting early in the morning, lasting 6 or more hours, and is restricted to the designated count circle. We try to count every individual bird of every species we encounter, seen or heard.

If you are relatively new to birding, you might consider going on one of our New Hope Audubon bird walks (5 or more per month) to build up your skills in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with supportive local experts. See our web calendar or upcoming events on our home page. That said, we encourage participants of all stripes—beginners and experts, young and old. If you have never counted before, we will team you up with more experienced people. Please note that some coverage areas do require hiking, sometimes for considerable distances over uneven terrain.

For a close-up look at our past results, last year’s compiler’s notes, and a summary of our cumulative data since 1977, see the ‘Historical Information’ section below.

NEW: Visit our new Bird Count Charts page to explore our historical data going back to 1977 for both our Spring and Christmas Bird Counts. On this page you may generate graphs of the abundance of individual bird species over time, and you may also download spreadsheets of the cumulative data.

To participate

The count this year was on Sunday, December 31, 2023. If you are interested in participating next year, please contact Tom Driscoll, our count organizer (by email: [email protected] or phone or text to 919-636-0482). All participants must sign up with Tom.

On count day, many of us meet for a countdown lunch at Ebenezer Church Recreation Area (click here for a map). For GPS, use this address: 2582 Beaver Creek Rd, Apex, NC 27523 or these coordinates: 35.7420, -79.0021. We have reserved the picnic area at Ebenezer Point, from 12:00 until 2:00 PM, and the countdown will be at 1:00 PM. Bring your lunch and join us. Bald Eagles have built a nest near our old countdown site (Shelter #8), so we have moved to Ebenezer Point itself in order to leave them undisturbed.

Submit your count data

eBird Users:
If you use eBird checklists, feel free to use the new eBird Trip Report feature. It is really handy if using eBird mobile. Create a checklist for each stop as you normally would using eBird mobile. On the eBird website, go to My eBird–Manage my Trip Reports–Create Trip Report. You may then create a report that summarizes all the checklists for your sector. When creating the trip report make the ‘visibility’ link-only or public. Please create a narrative section in the trip report and include the following (eBird will not do this for you):

  • Area(s) covered, names and email addresses of all participants
  • Effort data: start time, end time, daytime effort (time and miles by car, foot, etc., report one-way distance only), nocturnal effort: time and miles
  • Bald Eagle data: number of adults (with times), number of immatures (with times), number of unknown age class (with times)
  • Double-crested Cormorant data: large numbers only with times
  • Notes on rare species or unusually high numbers
  • Notes on species that might be double counted by another party
  • Any other information you would like to add

You can then share the trip report with Norm Budnitz, our compiler, at: [email protected]

Click here for a guide with more information on using eBird for CBCs.

Or submit forms as in the past:
The following forms may be sent to Norm either by email: [email protected] (Excel format) or as hard copies (PDF format, note his new address on the form). Note that the count forms have been formatted to print out on letter-sized paper in landscape orientation:

  • Christmas Count checklist for electronic entry and submission as an Excel file
  • Christmas Count checklist for hard copy entry and submission as a .pdf file
  • Rare Bird form for electronic entry and submission as an Excel file
  • Rare bird form for hard copy entry and submission as a .pdf file

Count Areas and Assignments

Click on an area in this map to see its number and name. If you click the broken rectangle in the upper right corner, you can see a larger map, including a color-coded list of the areas to the left. If you click on one of the areas in that list, the map will automatically zoom in on that area.

The coverage assignments below are based on previous years (with emphasis on last year’s participation) and will be updated regularly. A question mark (?) indicates participants from previous years or participants tentatively placed but not yet confirmed — please let us know!

**Updated January 16, 2024.**

Area 1–Farrington area: Rick Payne
Area 2–Sexton Rd, E. Stone Rd, west of Horton’s Pond Rd (W of pond): Barbara Coffman, Kyle Mills
Area 3–Horton’s Pond E to 751, S to US 64, Crosswinds Marina, White Oak Creek: Kerry MacPherson, Trish MacPherson
Area 4–Big Woods Road: Carolyn Mcallaster, Jennifer Maher
Area 5–Parker’s Creek: Loren Hintz, Margaret Vimmerstedt, Ben Acker, Emily Acker
Area 6–Fearrington Village: Kathleen Rogers, Mary Ross
Area 7–Mt. Gilead Road: Todd Bishop, Bob Roth
Area 8–Bynum Ridge, Pokeberry Creek: Tom Driscoll
Area 9–Haw River from Bynum to Rt 64: Adam Short
Area 10–West of Haw River, North of US 64: Bo Howes, Joe Donahue
Area 11–Olive Chapel Area: Matt Spangler
Area 12–Tody Goodwin Road: (?)
Area 13–Barker Road, Beaver Creek area to Old US 1: Russell Herman
Area 14E–Shearon Harris: Jonathan Cantrell
Area 14W–Shearon Harris: Will Cook
Area 15–Seaforth: Alan Avakian, Fleeta Wilkinson, Mark Montaze, Ron Martin
Area 16–Poplar Point: Steve McMurray
Area 17–Ebenezer and Poplar Point Settling Ponds: Marc Ribaudo
Area 18–Bonsal Road, south side of Little Beaver Creek: (?)
Area 19–Pea Ridge Rd to New Hope Overlook: Josh Southern, Sterling Southern
Area 20–Jordan Dam–East: Patsy Bailey, Gene Kingsley
Area 21–Deep River to Merry Oaks: Norm Budnitz
Area 23–Vista Point: Brian Bockhahn
Area 24–Wilderness Island: (?)
Area 25–Hank’s Chapel Rd and Gum Springs Rd: Don Pelly, Rachelle Roake, Julie d’Ablaing
Area 26–Pittsboro to Jordan Dam–West: Noah Rokoske
Area 27–South of Old US 1, Cape Fear Area, Haywood: Andy Upshaw, Rouse Wilson, Joe Zellers, Mark Owens

Historical Information:

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