Since the founding of the Beckham Bird Club, its members have participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) organized by the National Audubon Society.
The CBC is held from December 14 through January 5. The purpose is to track wintering bird populations across the United States and Canada and, more recently, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
In order to provide consistency over time, the CBC is organized into permanent counting circles, each 15 miles in diameter. Each circle is surveyed for a full calendar day once during the count window. A compiler is responsible for each circle; compilers recruit volunteers, organize the count and put together and report the results.
A number of counts are held in the Louisville area each year. They include the main Louisville circle, a count centered on Otter Creek Park in Meade County, and Bernheim Forest. Other counts are conducted across Kentucky and welcome participation by BBC members.
Since 2015, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has organized Global Big Day, when birders around the world are encouraged to spend the day trying to see as many species as possible. Global Big Days are held on the first or second Saturday in May, to coincide with the northward spring migration in the northern hemisphere. In 2018, an October date was added, picking up the tail end of fall migration in the northern half of the world and spring migration south of the equator.
Birders are instructed to submit results to the eBird website, which compiles data from the planetary level down to the county level.
The advent of Global Big Day sparked friendly competition among birders in many areas, including Kentucky. The Beckham Bird Club and birders in the Lexington area have been striving to outdo each other in the number of species seen on the spring Global Big Day in Jefferson and Fayette counties. The results thus far (May totals - high count records in red):
The North American Breeding Bird Survey is an annual census of breeding bird populations organized by the US Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Participants survey routes following a set protocol.
Experienced birders are encouraged to sign up to cover vacant routes. You must be able to accurately identify all birds in your area by sight and by song only and successfully complete a training and qualification exercise. More information can be found at at USGC/PWRC website.