Christmas Bird Count

Pine Grosbeak by Bob Martinka

Since 1973 Last Chance Audubon has participated in this national event to collect data on wintering bird populations. The Helena area is divided up into nine quadrants and during a single day in December teams disperse to document both species and numbers of birds, concluding with a potluck to swap stories about the day’s sightings.


The 2019 Christmas Bird Count(CBC) was hosted by LCAS on Saturday, December 14th.  A total of 56 surveyors gathered at Jorgenson’s Restaurant in the early hours and spent the day gathering data to support the event’s 120th birthday.  Blue Jays, Northern Shrikes and Trumpeter Swans  highlighted the day and several species were seen in record numbers.

This year’s count saw a total of 58 species, down from our yearly average of 63 and just above our all-time low of 57.  Area birders added six additional species during count week (Ring-necked Pheasant, White-crowned Sparrow, Bohemian Waxwing, Northern Goshawk, Rusty Blackbird) and a first ever Brown Thrasher was found and photographed near Carroll College (also during count week).
We had a total of 8,367 individual birds this year, also down from our 15-year average of 11,195.
We did have all-time high counts for Trumpeter Swan -40, Green-winged Teal -23, Redhead -35, Ring-necked Duck -140, Red-tailed Hawk – 18, Northern Shrike -17, and Blue Jay -23.

Questions regarding the count can be directed to Coburn Currier at

Complete CBC Results by Year
Helena MT Christmas Bird Count Circle