New Brunswick’s Christmas Bird Counts
New Brunswickers have been participating in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) since Christmas Day 1900 when William H Moore from Scotch Lake, part of today’s Mactaquac count area, became Canada’s first CBCer.
Fewer than a dozen CBCs took place in New Brunswick over the next 50 years, but in 1956, Austin Squires, curator of the New Brunswick Museum, encouraged New Brunswick naturalists to join other North American naturalists in doing Christmas Bird Counts. Dr. Squires laid out the format for doing a count and within a decade there were counts operating from Île Lamèque to Grand Manan. Perhaps 80 areas have been surveyed over time, but about 50 are regularly surveyed now.
In the mid-60s, David Christie, volunteering through Nature NB, took on the informal role of compiler for New Brunswick CBCs and for the next 50 years produced a provincial CBC summary which was published by Nature NB.
While today most CBC compilers post their data to the international database operated by Audubon, Nature NB has been by far the largest publisher of New Brunswick based CBCs. With only 30% of new Brunswick’s 2200 CBCs being available through the Audubon database, Nature NB has undertaken to provide access to every known New Brunswick CBC through its website.
Take part in a Christmas Bird Count
50 Christmas Bird Counts were undertaken in New Brunswick during the 2021 CBC season and, for the first time, all 50 posted their data to the international database supported by Birds Canada and managed by Audubon. Nature NB’s annual provincial compilation and summary is under preparation and is expected to be available shortly before the 2022 CBC.
List of planned counts of the 2022-23 CBC season
Published Records of New Brunswick’s Christmas Bird Counts
Note: Accessing these published records is best managed with the Finding Tool and using the directions in the next section.
Bird Lore, a predecessor publication to Audubon, 1900 to 1940
- Count data from across North America for 1900-1923, 1929, 1933 and 1937 available here.
- Count data for 1924-1928, 1930-1932 and 1934-1936 are not available online, but were examined at the Royal Ontario Museum in December 2021.
- 2 NB counts — Scotch Lake, 1900; Kent Island, 1937.
The Canadian Field Naturalist, 1919 to present
- Count data from across Canada for 1919 to 1959 available here.
- 15 NB counts — St. Stephen/Deer Island, 1924; Saint John, 1945, 1946, 1957, 1958, 1959; Sackville, 1948; Woodstock, 1948; Fredericton, 1952, 1959; Riverview Heights, 1956, 1957; Port Elgin, 1957, 1958; Welsford-Bailey, 1958.
Audubon Field Notes, 1940 to 1971, then American Birds
- Count data from across Canada for 1940 to present available here.
- 6 NB counts — Memramcook, 1946; Moncton-Shediac, 1958, 1959; Woodstock, 1963; Fundy National Park, 1970; Upper Bay of Fundy (Saint John-Digby ferry), 1976.
- Up to 1980 only examined; all counts appear to be on the Audubon database
Nature News, 1950 to 1969
- Count data from New Brunswick counts for 1956 to 1968 available here.
- 124 NB counts — 24 count areas from Grand Falls to Sackville and Lamèque to Grand Manan.
NB Naturalist, 1969 to present
- Count data from New Brunswick counts for 1969 to present available here.
- 2000 NB counts — more than 70 count areas have been surveyed; usually 45-50 counts per year.
Audubon, 1900 to present
- Electronic database of North American counts available here.
- All counts from published sources above are eligible for inclusion in Audubon database; approximately 600 New Brunswick counts (30% of total) are in the database as of 2020.
- 3 NB counts are not included in other published sources — Saint-Léonard, 2008, 2010; Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, 2010.
Accessing New Brunwick’s Christmas Bird Count Data with Nature NB’s Finding Tool
Finding the results from any of New Brunswick’s 2200 CBCs is a two or three step process depending on whether you are looking for results from a particular count area or year or trying to find all the CBCs that have taken place in a certain area.
Some parts of New Brunswick have been surveyed only a few times — or even just once. Several areas have 40 to 50 years of continuous data. Cape Tormentine, including the 2020 CBC, has 60 years of continuous data that has all been published as well as posted to the free public database at Audubon.
Use the five CBC dataset profiles above (Bird Lore, Canadian Field Naturalist, etc.) to determine which dataset you wish to examine.
Download the Excel-based Finding Tool and go to the appropriate dataset tab at the lower edge of the Finding Tool.
Find the count area or year you are interested in and at the top of the column you will see the volume and number or date of the publication where that/those counts can be found. Note that the Audubon database has no issue numbers or dates; the database can be used to explore about 30% of New Brunswick’s CBCs by species, count area or time period independently of the Finding Tool.
Leave the Finding Tool and, back to the Published Records section, click on the link to the appropriate dataset and proceed to the appropriate issue of the publication.
Data Commitment: Nature NB is committed to publishing the data from any as yet unpublished CBCs, whether previously unknown or up to now “lost”.
Data Caveat: Like all large datasets, there are likely errors in the data presented here. If you find things that are questionable please let us know. (Even in the data from New Brunswick’s first CBC there is a bust — Wm H Moore reported 36 individuals from 9 species, yet the results add to 34 individuals and 8 species!)
Data in Electronic Format: Digital versions of some count areas over their history, as well as some annual provincial compilations, are available in electronic format on request.