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Christmas Bird Count


The razorbill is an alcid that winters at Stellwagen Bank

The Audubon Society and the sanctuary invite all birders, from novices to seasoned veterans, to participate in the annual Christmas Bird Count. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Audubon Society has been sponsoring counts at several dozen locations. The Stellwagen Bank bird count has been scheduled since 1988. For the past several years, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary has been a co-sponsor of this important event.

The Stellwagen Bank count covers a 15-mile circle that includes the southern end of the Bank and a portion of the northern tip of Cape Cod. This zone allows for counts on days when a vessel cannot be used (as happened in 2000 when inclement weather and rough sea conditions kept the boat at the dock).

northern gannets

Northern gannets can be seen dive-bombing for prey in the Sanctuary

Christmas Bird Count trips out to Stellwagen Bank include an experienced ornithologist from the Mass. Audubon Society and other naturalists, who can help the novice birder identify local species. As the Audubon Society warns, "Beginner’s luck often holds true during any field experience, and for Christmas Bird Counts, it’s the more the eyes and ears the merrier."



To view records of past counts at Stellwagen Bank, visit the National Audubon Society's historical data page. ( Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on"Get Count Date - by count circle". When the form appears (, fill in the required data:
STEP 1: Option A - select Massachusetts (in the state/province box), then click on FIND COUNT.
STEP 2: select Stellwagen Bank (for the count circle)
STEP 3: select the start and end dates for data (Stellwagen Bank counts started in the winter of 1987-88 (count year #88)


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