In late September, the National Audubon Society notified all 2,646 Christmas Bird Count (CBC) Coordinators that they would allow CBCs, but only under strict COVID guidelines. These included social distancing, masks, no carpooling except family “pods,” and no live Countdowns. They further recommended no sharing of spotting scopes, binoculars, or bird identification books.
I discussed this with all 27 Team Leaders, and everyone agreed that we could do this. It would really be somewhat easy for us, as we have been doing all of this by following the State of Oregon guidelines since the beginning of the pandemic. Not being able to have our traditional Chili Feed Countdown was going to be the most difficult activity to give up.
So, on Sunday, January 3, 2021, we had the 79th Eugene Christmas Bird Count (ECBC). The weather was really good for an Oregon day in early January and we took advantage of it. One Team Leader commented that she needed to add sun screen to her list of items to take on the Christmas Bird Counts! We had 140 people on the 27 Field Teams, plus another 119 Home Counters. That’s 259 observers, a new record!