Newly fallen snow is broken up by the tracks of a small bird searching for fallen seeds underneath a bird feeder. (JOHN SMIERCIAK / CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

This year's annual Waukegan Christmas Bird Count could be good for both rare sightings at backyard feeders and even more numerous common birds because of the snow cover conditions, according to the organizer.

Youth Canada Goose Chilliwack Navy Nz

"So the possibility exists for a good number of birds going to feeders and those counts are important for the census for a more accurate count of the birds that use this area," said Greenberg.

If you see two female red cardinals in the morning and then two females at noon, don't count four, just two, because they are probably the same birds. If you see a male later, then you would add it.

"Birds are affected by the weather conditions, and with the snow, ice birds are found to resort to feeders when certain food sources they normally would tap are covered," said Joel Greenberg, organizer of the annual event.

"This year might also have some rare birds show up at feeders," he said, like the thistle loving Eurasian Brambling or Red Pole or pine siskin, smaller finch like birds.


Newly fallen snow is broken up by the tracks of a small bird searching for fallen seeds underneath a bird feeder.

When counting Greenberg says to always be conservative. Count three times Youth Canada Goose Chilliwack Navy Nz during the day: morning, noon and evening. It only takes 15 minutes.

In the past, the Waukegan Christmas Bird Count has ranked in the top ten nationally and in Canada for the number of people participating in the feeder count.

While internationally this is the 116th annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest running citizen science survey in the world, that spans from Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, the Lake County count is always on New Year's Day and involves around eight teams of birders scouring the fields and forest preserves and another 70 or so who count birds at their feeders three times during the day.

´╗┐Annual Christmas Bird Count set for Friday in Lake County

Greenberg has been running the count for decades and will be out all day checking various areas for birds with three other team members. At the end of the day, the groups gather to reveal what birds they spotted over a potluck dinner.