This Rosy finch, Gray-crowned, was spotted by Wyoming birder RT Cox. He invites fellow birders and novices to join the many winter bird counts planned for the weeks ahead. (courtesy RT Cox)
RT Cox
RT Cox

What? Counting birds? Who, me? In the winter? The National Audubon Society has successfully routed people out of their nice warm houses to bundle up and venture forth to count winter birds for more than 100 years.

That’s nice, you say. Why would this interest me? What’s wrong with sitting in front of a fireplace with a nice mug of Irish coffee or spiced rum?

Okay, it’s a hard sell. Or maybe not. It’s a social occasion with easygoing people who love to share their knowledge with the previously uninitiated. It’s a good excuse to get some sun, or wind in Wyoming, fresh air, and test out those nice warm boots you never use.

There is nothing like traipsing around a part of our beautiful state looking for the few birds that either don’t migrate or somehow forgot to leave this year, so we get to tally them up and then rendezvous for a hearty dinner and great company.

Am I over-selling this?

During the past couple of decades more and more stalwart souls have organized local winter bird counts all over our amazing state. I am about to give you tons of info about these counts, but I need to say one more thing:

If you have not joined a bird count before, don’t be bashful. I started out not knowing much, and I still don’t know much, but I enjoy the company of those who can teach me. All of the birders I know enjoy nothing more than modestly imparting information to the newbies. So get up early, make a thermos of coffee, put on those long johns and venture into the Wyoming winter. Were you nervous the first day of kindergarten? And didn’t it turn out you didn’t need to be?

Bring warm hat and coat and boots, binoculars, maybe a camera, water, snacks. And bring your children.

Here is the list. Choose more than one; you’ll be glad you did. First, a general reference: Read about bird counts at Audubon of the Rockies.

The Riverton Christmas Bird Count is set for Tuesday, Dec. 15. The meeting site is still McDonalds on Federal Avenue, arrive any time after 7 a.m., and we’ll head out at 8 a.m. Lunch is 11:30 and then out for the country count. We’re looking forward to the day and seeing all of you!  —  Wanda Major

The Casper CBC will be held Dec. 19. Planning meeting Dec. 17 is at the Tate Museum at 7 p.m. All are welcome. Meet at the Kings Corner before 7:30 a.m.

The Lander CBC is Saturday, Dec. 19th. Meet at McDonalds at 7:15 a.m. (or 11:30 if you wish to count in the afternoon only). Contact Del Nelson at or call (307) 332-5102 for more information.

Green River CBC will be held on Saturday, Dec. 19, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants for the Green River CBC will meet at McDonald’s on Uinta Drive at 7 a.m. for assignments, then back at McDonald’s at noon to assess their progress, and finally at Fred and Fern Linton’s house, 405 Wilkes Drive, at 5 p.m. for a spaghetti dinner and to compile results. Please contact David Mead at (208) 380-5802 for more information.

Kane CBC (Lovell area): Saturday, Dec. 19. Email Jennifer Miller for more information.

Gillette CBC is Dec 19, meet  7 a.m. at Perkins. I’ll be there (your’s truly, RT Cox).

The Laramie Audubon Society: Volunteers are welcome to join on Saturday, Dec. 19. This will be the 37th count of the Albany County Circle. Volunteers are needed to help count every bird present in the 15-mile diameter circle around Laramie on the day of the count. Novices are welcome, and will be paired with more experienced bird watchers. Volunteers can call ahead (307) 286-1972 or meet at Coal Creek Coffee, 110 E. Grand at 7:30 a.m. on the day of the count to get data forms and team assignments. Some teams walk, while others drive through the territory. Volunteers will reconvene at The Grounds Internet and Coffee Lounge, 171 N. 3rd St. at noon to drop off morning reports and regroup for those continuing in the afternoon. Feeder watchers are also welcome. Volunteers are invited to a chili supper where results will be compiled beginning at 4 p.m. at the home of Shay Howlin. Potluck items welcome, but not required. Please contact Shay Howlin if you would like to be assigned a route early, would like forms for feeder watching, or have any questions (307) 286-1972 or

The Dubois CBC is scheduled for Sunday Dec. 20. Birders of all levels of experience from beginners to experts are welcome to participate. New counters may be paired with more experienced birders. The count area is comprised of 12 areas within the 15-mile diameter around Dubois with the Fire Hall at the center. Those interested in identifying and counting birds may notify Tory and Meredith Taylor (307) 455-2161 or to sign up for a specific area to count that day and to get the bird list, form and map. You may also get these forms at Kathy’s Koffee at 7:30 a.m. Dec 20 on count day. The participants are invited to a lively potluck dinner following the count at 5 p.m. at the St Thomas Episcopal Church community room to share the teams’ sightings and submit their counts for the final tally that day. Final bird count sheets may also be submitted during the following week to Anna Moscicki at the Dubois Library. Last year, the 115th year of the national CBC, Dubois had 27 participants with 9 parties in the field and two counting at feeders. Collectively, we counted 48 species (plus two more during Count Week) and 1,714 individual birds on CBC day. More details of the count are available here. This is also the website that you can donate to Audubon in order to help correlate nationwide counts.

Cody CBC is Saturday, Dec. 26. Email Joyce Cicco For more information, visit this website.

Guernsey/Fort Laramie CBC is Sunday Dec. 27. Cheyenne birders will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Lions Park, in the parking lot by the old Community House behind the Children’s Village. Please let Mark Gorges (, 307-634-0463) know if you plan to come in case there are any changes in plans due to weather. Bring water, lunch, warm clothes, binoculars, and a scope if you have one, and whatever you need for a day watching birds at Grayrocks Reservoir, Guernsey State Park, Ft. Laramie National Historic Site, the Oregon Trail Ruts and Hartville, leaving for Cheyenne about 4 p.m., depending on weather or stopping for refreshments or dinner. Birding on your own or watching your feeders? The center point of the 7.5 mile radius count circle is where Highway 26 crosses the Goshen County/Platte County line. Please send in your results ASAP to the count compiler, Jane Dorn, (307) 640-4002 or  email or Anyone in the neighborhood of the count area is welcome to meet Jane at 8 a.m. at the Ft. Laramie Post Office, or at 10 a.m. at the main entrance to Guernsey State Park.

The Crowheart CBC will take place on Friday, New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. Meet at the Crowheart Volunteer Fire Hall at 8 a.m. A warm building, banana bread and hot beverages will be available at 7:30 a.m. If you know of anyone who would like to start learning about birds, please let Susan Hill know, even if you can’t participate, and she will invite them. Young people are welcome. If new to this count, please contact Susan Hill (307) or 857-6426

Cheyenne – High Plains Audubon Society CBC will be Jan. 2.  Meet at Downtown Post Office lobby, 2100 Capitol Ave., by 7:30 a.m. Dress for the weather and bring pencil, notepaper plus thermos, cookies, binoculars and field guide, if you have them. We will divide into groups to visit simultaneously Wyoming Hereford Ranch, High Plains Grasslands Research Station, F.E. Warren and Lions Park. Your group may finish up within a couple of hours. Be a field observer on your own. You are free to look for birds anywhere within the count circle. Record numbers of each species you observe and the amount of time and distance you travel-and the kind of transportation you use. Keep track of where and when you saw species of note so we can tell if you counted the same bird or flock as someone else. For your report, compile the total number of individuals of each species and include your travel information. You may print out the form (which also has a map of the count circle area) from page 3 of the online version of this newsletter posted hereTurn in your results at the potluck or call Greg Johnson, CBC coordinator, (307) 634-1056, or mail to gjohnson@west-inc.comAttend the CBC tally party and potluck; Westgate Activity Center, 5519 Gateway Dr., 6 p.m. Bring your results and a food contribution to share. At the intersection of Yellowstone and Carlson, go west on Carlson half a block. Turn south on Gateway Drive (through the gate). Look for the two-story building immediately on the left. Get more potluck information. Call Mark Gorges, (307) 634-0463.

Pinedale’s CBC is set for Sunday, Jan. 3. We can always use more counters thus join us if you are in the area. Elizabeth (Betty) Boehm would like to have routes given prior to that day as she is out first thing in the a.m. Give her a call at (307) 367-7018 or send her an email: Will have a chili potluck starting at 5:30 p.m. in the local library after to talk about birds and the day!

RT Cox is a retired Gillette lawyer who formerly served on WyoFile’s board of directors. He wrote The Sage Grouse column for WyoFile for many years.

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