Birds & Science

We use the best available science to ensure the survival of Montana's birds and other wildlife.

Christmas Bird Count


Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual tradition for families, communities, and the conservation movement. The CBC is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. The count began in 1900 and is an important and well-respected program of National Audubon.

Erick Greene, Missoula's CBC

Erick Greene, Missoula’s CBC

During this early-winter bird census, participants count every bird they see or hear during one day in a designated 15-mile diameter circle. Some volunteers even do this from their kitchen window, watching nearby feeders.

The upcoming CBC runs from December 14, 2016 and January 5, 2017. All Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) are open to the public. Here’s how to participate this year:

  • To locate the CBC nearest you, refer to the map above (these locations are anticipated in 2016-17).
  • Updated count dates, leaders, and other information can be found BELOW (and we will keep it updated as we receive information).
  • A table of Montana CBC info (dates, leaders, etc.) by location can be downloaded HERE: (mt_compiler_cbc_current).
  • Here’s the account of montanas-2015-16-cbc (last year’s CBC). Thanks to Rose Leach of Five Valleys Audubon for compiling statewide results!

Christmas Bird Counts have proven incredibly valuable for what they tell scientists — and all of us — about our changing world.

9 - Missoula - December 17, 2016

Groups are assigned the week before the count. If you want to participate in the field count, contact Larry Weeks at [email protected] or 406-540-3064. If you are interested in being a feeder watcher, contact Rose Leach at 406-370-1999 or [email protected]. The Count day will end with a potluck dinner at the home of Larry Weeks, 2428 West Kent, which is near Rosauers. Potluck guests are welcome to arrive at 6:00 PM. Dinner will commence at 6:30 PM. Please bring your favorite potluck offering, or A-L, bring a salad or dessert, and M-Z, a hot dish.

10 - Stevensville - December 31, 2016

If you want to participate, meet in the conference room of the Stevensville Ranger Station (88 Main Street, Stevensville) between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. For more details call Dave Lockman at 406-381-7679.

22 - Helena - January 2, 2017

NEW DATE: JANUARY 2, 2017:  Meet at Jorgenson’s Restaurant (11th Ave. and Lamborn) at 6:30 AM if you want breakfast at the restaurant and 7:15 AM if you don’t. At 5:30 PM, there will be a potluck at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Additional information can be found on the Last Chance Audubon website at

23 - Great Falls - December 17, 2016

Alternative date (if weather does not cooperate): Sunday, December 18, 2016.

If you are interested in participating, contact Nora Gray: [email protected] or 406-781-4153. Participants, please let Nora know by Wednesday, December 14 if you will be attending Saturday’s post- CBC pizza and salad dinner at FWP headquarters (the dinner is paid for by Upper Missouri Breaks Audubon).

24 - Chester

We don’t know the compiler for the 2016-17 CBC yet. If you want to know about the 2015-16 count, contact Chuck or Janet Saxton at 406-456-3260.

31 - Billings - December 18, 2016

To participate, please call Jim Court (406-259-5099 or [email protected]) before Dec. 13 (alternate contacts: Gail Speck (406-461-1997) or Will Crain (406-697-9156). Meet at Denny’s Restaurant, 501 North  27th St., at 7 AM. At the end of count day, meet at the Audubon Center (7026 South Billings Blvd, Billings) for pizza and drinks. Everyone is welcome!

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