Hofstra Christmas Bird Count

Hofstra students, faculty, alumni, and friends count birds each winter on campus (and then near campus) as part of the national Christmas Bird Count. We've been doing it at Hofstra for five years, and we plan to keep going!

At the national level, the Christmas Bird Count began on Christmas Day of 1900, led by ornithologist Frank Chapman and friends. They started counting birds as a fun alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas tradition among European Americans in which participants would compete to shoot as many birds as possible. CBC participants competed instead to count as many birds as they could (leaving them alive). One of the counts that first day in 1900 was near Hofstra in Manhattan's Central Park. Counts have been done every year since then at 15-mile diameter “count circles” all around the country, producing one of the most significant long-term data sets of bird populations available to ornithologists. The counts are now coordinated by the National Audubon Society, which has a page about the CBC here, including recent results and analysis of historical data. You might be interested in looking at some of the trends the CBC has revealed for bird populations over the last century.

Our local count at Hofstra is part of the Mitchel Field section of the Southern Nassau County count circle. You can read more about the various New York count circles including ours at this page from the New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA).

Winter 2018–2019 count

The sixth annual Hofstra Christmas Bird Count will be Saturday, December 29, 2018. We will meet at Gittleson Hall* at 8 AM. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends are welcome to join. In case of rough weather, text or email me, and/or I will also post any real-time updates to the Hofstra Birds twitter page (website, no Twitter account required).

(* specifically around the east end of the building, near what3words location smart.glad.fell)

We will count all the birds we can find at Hofstra for a few hours, and then head to some other nearby locations including Hempstead Plains Preserve. Come and go as you like. Feel free to come for just the campus portion, for example. Email me for my phone number if you want to find us later than 8.

Probable itinerary: Hofstra > Turtle Hook Middle School/Holly Paterson Facility > lunch at Chipotle > Speno Park pond (probably meeting Jim Browne's group here) > Eisenhower Park > Hempstead Plains Preserve > compile+coffee at Starbucks on Hempstead Tpk. > possible return to Hofstra for FICR/AMCR/PEFA at sunset > dinner at Otto's Sea Grill

All participants in the Southern Nassau CBC are invited to the count dinner, where results are compiled for the whole count circle. The dinner will be at Otto's Sea Grill, located at 271 Woodcleft Avenue in Freeport. The cost for dinner is about $34 per person (including tax and gratuity; bring cash).

Hofstra results

For more about birds at and around Hofstra, see the Twitter page/feed for @HofstraBirds (you don't have to be a Twitter user) and the eBird hotspot page for the Hofstra Campus, including a partly-illustrated checklist of Hofstra birds, a printable checklist of Hofstra birds, and a bar chart of observations through the year. Consider submitting your observations there, and/or let me know what you see!


Last edited December 2018 by Christopher Eliot