Laughing Whitefish Bird Alliance

Bird Counts

Why count birds?

“Monitoring birds is an essential part of protecting them. But tracking the health of the world’s 10,000 bird species is an immense challenge. That’s where you come in.

Scientists need hundreds of thousands of people to report what they’re seeing in backyards, neighborhoods, and wild places around the world. No matter what aspect of bird watching you love most, there’s a citizen-science project that needs you.” – Cornell Lab of Ornithology

August 2024
September 2024
November 2024
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IMPORTANTBefore attending an LWAS Bird Outing, Field Trip, or Bird Count please read the LWAS birding guidelines and birding ethics.

Laughing Whitefish Audubon currently participates in two annual counts in Marquette and Alger counties – The Annual Midwest Sandhill Crane count, in April, and the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, in December.

Annual Midwest Sandhill Crane Count – (see EVENTS CALENDAR for current year date and time) Each year in mid-April, over 1,600 volunteers travel to their local wetlands and favorite birding locations to participate in the Crane Count. This annual survey of Sandhill and Whooping Cranes spans over 120 counties in six states of the upper Midwest.
To participate in the Crane Count, you first need to contact your County Coordinator to be assigned a site and receive additional instructions. Cathy Waller ( is the new Marquette County Coordinator. Jude Holloway ( is the Alger County Coordinator. To see the list of coordinators in the UP:

The National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) takes place annually from December 14 – January 5 and has been in existence for 118 years, making it the longest-running wildlife census in the country. Join with other birders to collect important information that is used to assess the health of the nation’s bird populations. For trends shown by CBC data, see Audubon’s “State of the Birds” report at 2024 COUNT DATES will be announced in November 2024

ALL LEVELS ARE WELCOME: Beginning birders will be paired with more experienced

Preliminary 2022 CBC INFORMATION

2020 LWAS Audubon Christmas Bird Count Dates  MORE ABOUT THE CBC 

The following dates are tentative and please contact your compiler closer to the date, to make sure there are no further restrictions.  

  • December –, 2022 (Saturday) – Marquette The compiler is Melinda Stamp at or 906-869-2489 

Contact Melinda if you would like to participate. 

  • December –, 2022 (Sunday) – AuTrain 

The compiler is Scott Hickman at or 906-892-8603. Please use the email address for communication since count information is distributed by email. Please let Scott know at least 5 days in advance if you want to participate so that count circle coverage can be properly coordinated and communicated to all participants. 

Hopefully, there will be a third bird count for the area of Michigamme and the Peshekee Grade.
If you are interested, please contact Gary Palmer at if you are interested.


2022 dates will be posted by December.

Mackinac Straits: December
The pin for this count is right in the middle of the bridge! Lots of open water birding, plenty of feeders in towns and some nice wooded habitat.
Contact Steve Baker at:

Les Cheneaux: December
This volunteer led effort takes place in the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands area of Cedarville, Hessel, Pickford, and Stalwart. Lots of water viewing and cedar forests to explore, but also this count touches on the hay fields and grasslands of Pickford and affording opportunities to see open field species. We will end the day with a virtual tally rally over zoom.
Contact Elliot Nelson at:
More info at:

Sault Ste Marie International: December
This is one of the handfuls of international counts that takes place across Michigan between Michigan and Ontario. This count covers the always interesting St Mary’s River as well as a plethora of bird feeder areas and fruit trees along with a handful of wooded and open field areas.
Contact Carter Dorscht:
More info at:

Rudyard: December 29th
A truly unique count with some of the highest Snowy Owl and Sharp-tailed Grouse numbers in the whole nation! This count covers lots of open field areas but also includes wooded areas, towns with feeders and fruit trees and a landfill with huge gull and Bald Eagle numbers.
Contact Steve Baker at:

Neebish Island and Dunbar: This count covers remote Neebish Island and the famous Dunbar park, owl loops around Lower Hay Lake Rd and Riverside Drive and the Munuscong WIldlife Management Area. A prime EUP winter birding area for sure!
Contact Greg Links at

Whitefish Point: Quite possibly the most well-known birding hotspot in Michigan doesn’t disappoint in the winter. Although there are not a lot of roads to drive, the habitat is wonderful and winter finches abound. Spruce Grouse are also a unique feature of this count regularly encountered in most years.
Contact Charlie Weaver at

Hope you are able to get out there and count or count from home. Stay safe, stay warm, and bird on!


  • Christmas Bird Count 2023
    Christmas Bird Count 2023 Christmas Bird Count Dates by Cathy Waller National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) takes place this year from December 14, 2023, through January 5, 2024. Participation is free! Audubon is following the Centers for Disease Control guidance, which advises that there is very little risk of COVID transmission outdoors, and is instructing compilers to follow …
  • Pre-count Information – 121st CBC
    2020 LWAS Audubon Christmas Bird Count Dates  MORE ABOUT THE CBC (Ann Joyal)  Christmas Bird Counts this year will take on a different format to account for restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus. A few differences to help with COVID-19 safety for this year:1) There will be no in-person gatherings before, during, or after the count.2) Individuals in the same …
  • Michigamme Highlands CBC Report
    The third annual Michigamme Highlands Christmas Bird Count was held last Sunday, 12/28. Eleven participants counted a total of 977 birds from 25species. This ties our species count from the first year and is up from 21 recorded in 2013. We added two new species this time, Barred Owl and Pine Siskin, which brings us to a cumulative total of 34 species over …
  • Gwinn Christmas Bird Count
    The 21st Gwinn Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on January 3, yielded exactly 1000 birds of 28 species. Historically, the CBC was originally conducted for eight years from 1980 to 1987. In 2002, the count was resurrected, shifted to early January, and completed every year except for one since.During the 1980’s, the Gwinn CBC averaged 20 species annually. Since 2002, …
  • Marquette 2014 Christmas Bird Count
    We experienced relatively warm weather and calm winds on Saturday, Dec. 20, and general consensus was that because of the good weather, birds were not concentrated in the areas they would be in worse conditions: feeders and harbors. Overall bird numbers seemed low, but we ended up with a respectable 44 species, plus 5 more during count week. Notable species: …