"If life is, as some hold it to be, a vast melancholy ocean over which ships more or less sorrow-laden continually pass, yet there lie here and there upon it isles of consolation on to which we may step out and for a time forget the winds and waves. One of these we may call Bird-isle – the island of watching and being entertained by the habits and humours of birds – and upon this one, for which the others I have here nothing to do, I will straightaway land, inviting such as may care to, to follow me."
Edmund Selous, Bird Watching, 1901
The annual Martha's Vineyard Christmas Bird Count is a one day event involving 60 or more people fanning out across the island to count every bird they can find. To insure that the whole island is covered we have 12 to 14 field teams that are each assigned to cover part of the island.
The 46th annual Martha's Vineyard Christmas Bird Count will be on Thursday, December 29, 2005. Please reserve that date as your participation on a field team or as a feederwatcher will be greatly appreciated. Contact Robert Culbert for more information.
As the photo at the right shows, we spend time using telescopes to count the birds that are offshore. While one or two people on the team are scoping, others are using their binoculars to look elsewhere; they often find birds that would be missed by those concentrating on distant waters. It is also a time for others to learn, as experienced birders will take the time to teach about the birds they are finding.
We also have numerous people that participate by counting the birds at their bird feeder. Everyone's participation is welcome. On the 2004 count feederwatchers added two species that would not have been seen by the field teams. And every species counts, as the attached summaries of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 counts show.
Many thanks to our local sponsors - the County of Dukes County and Felix Neck Wildlife Trust.
The National Audubon Society compiles and publishes the results of all Christmas Bird Counts. At their website you can view the results of any particular count or you can view local, regional or national results for a particular species. And much more.