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.

The count this year will be held on Sunday, January 3, 2021. 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.

Due to the presence of COVID-19 in our lives, National Audubon has put forth some guidelines, and we ask that you follow their suggestions.

      1. There will be no in-person countdown lunch meeting.
      2. Please maintain social distancing and wear masks when you are in the field with your group.
      3. Carpooling may only occur within existing familiar or social “pod” groups. It is more difficult and not as much fun, but we ask that you use separate vehicles when moving from stop to stop in your count area.
      4. This year, we will not be inviting new people to the count.
      5. Please be especially mindful of private property this year and make any necessary arrangements with landowners well in advance.
      6. Most importantly, do not feel pressured to count if you don’t want to. Audubon has explicitly assured us that their long-term dataset will not be compromised by inconsistent or missing data from this year.

As of this writing, it appears that most public areas around the lake will be open for counting. We should be able to make special arrangements for closed areas. If this changes, we will let you know.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Tom Driscoll, our count organizer and compiler (by email: or phone or text to 919-636-0482). All participants must sign up with Tom.

After the count, you may submit your count data to Norm Budnitz, our Count Compiler. The following forms may be sent to Norm either by email: (Excel format) or as hard copies (PDF format, address on 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. 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 1, 2021.**

Area 1–Farrington area: Patrick Coin, Tom Ferguson, Laura Lipps
Area 2–Sexton Rd, E. Stone Rd, west of Horton’s Pond Rd (W of pond): Barbara Coffman
Area 3–Horton’s Pond E to 751, S to US 64, Crosswinds Marina, White Oak Creek: Rick Payne, Kerry MacPherson, Trish MacPherson
Area 4–Big Woods Road: Roger Shaw, Jennifer Maher
Area 5–Parker’s Creek: Loren Hintz, Margaret Vimmerstedt, Ted Smith, Ben Acker, Emily Acker
Area 6–Fearrington Village: Frank McKeever, Kathleen Rogers, Bill Tarpley
Area 7–Mt. Gilead Road: Todd Bishop, Elizabeth Bishop,
Area 8–Bynum Ridge, Pokeberry Creek: Susan Pratt, Marion Pratt
Area 9N–Haw River from Bynum: Jim Capel
Area 9S–Haw River from Rt. 64: Adam Short
Area 10–West of Haw River, North of US 64: Bo Howes, Joe Donahue
Area 11–Olive Chapel Area: Jin Bai
Area 12–Tody Goodwin Road: Peggy O’Neil-Ross, Kim Smart
Area 13–Barker Road, Beaver Creek area to Old US 1: Russell Herman
Area 14E–Shearon Harris: Fuz Sanderson, Jonathan Cantrell
Area 14W–Will Cook
Area 15–Seaforth: Alan Avakian, Fleeta Wilkinson
Area 16–Poplar Point: Steve McMurray
Area 17–Ebenezer and Poplar Point Settling Ponds: Sam Flake, Marc Ribaudo
Area 18–Bonsal Road, south side of Little Beaver Creek: Don Pelly, Joe Williams
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, Vern Bothwell
Area 23–Vista Point: Brian Bockhahn
Area 24–Wilderness Island: Steve Stevens
Area 25–Hank’s Chapel Rd and Gum Springs Rd: Tom Driscoll, Elizabeth Keating
Area 26–Pittsboro to Jordan Dam–West: Chris Canfield, Kate Finlayson
Area 27–South of Old US 1, Cape Fear Area, Haywood: Andy Upshaw, Mark Owens, Rouse Wilson, Joe Zellers

Historical Information:

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