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Christmas Bird Counts

Houston - Upper Texas Coast Counts

December 14, 2020 - January 5, 2021

Compilers, please send your dates and updates to Susan Billetdeaux,
For counts which have no dates, the descriptions are from the previous year.  Because of the pandemic, dates are tentative. Please check with the compiler for the latest updates.

  • Armand Bayou (TXAY)

    Come for the birds, come for the fun; let’s see how many species we can find here locally while taking part in a nationwide bird count that provides valuable data used in monitoring population trends of our awesome birds. Volunteers of all experience levels are needed in the fields and backyards of Armand Bayou’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. The Armand Bayou CBC is one of those special times of the year that we get to go out and scour our area, counting birds from dawn till dusk, doing what we all love to do. Our goal, to find as many species as we can possibly locate and of course have fun to boot. The count encircles areas of Clear Lake (including Armand Bayou Nature Center, NASA and U&H Clear Lake), Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, League City, Dickinson, Baycliff and many other places in between. A map of our area can be found here: MAP. In recent years, we have tallied between 150-155 species (one of the highest along the upper Texas coast); this is directly due to the many dedicated and awesome volunteers we have participate every year. We couldn’t begin to do that without your support though! Within our area is a great variety of habitats, including pockets of hardwood forest, grassland, wetlands, and water (both open bay and ponds). Our unusual species over the past few years have included Grace's Warbler (first & second year records in Harris County (2015 & 2016) Sabines Gull (2017), Black-legged Kittiwake (2017), Virginia Rail, Hooded Oriole (a local backyard), Grasshopper Sparrow (2018), Great Kiskadee, Green-tailed Towhee, Broad-tailed & Calliope Hummingbird and more!

    After a full day of birding, we will meet at a local restaurant (details forthcoming) for our tally rally countdown; this begins around 5:30 pm. Prizes for best and most interesting bird will be given. To register for an area or to count from your backyard (very much needed also), please contact Andrew Hamlett or Martha Hood at Further details will be included and discussed upon sign-up. Additionally, frequent and timely updates will be made to our Facebook page at Armand Bayou CBC & Local Birding so please like and follow us there as well.

  • Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR (TXAP): 12/16

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020
    The Attwater CBC is a wonderful opportunity to bird the Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR as well as private property in Eagle Lake, TX. This CBC is open to all birders and is one of the highest inland CBCs for diversity in the country. In 2015, our species total was 177! A hot dinner will be provided, at the Refuge, for all participants following the event. This count is always held on the 1st Wednesday of the CBC season. If you are interested in participating, contact Sumita Prasad at

  • Beech Creek (TXBE)

    This count takes place in Tyler and Jasper Counties and includes Steinhagen Lake, the Beech Creek unit of Big Thicket National Preserve and Martin Dies State Park. Meet at the Corps of Engineers Picnic Area on FM92 immediately north of the intersection with FM1746 in Town Bluff at 6:30 AM. Sponsored by the Big Thicket National Preserve. Contact John Whittle (, 409-722-4193) for more information.

  • Bolivar Peninsula (TXBP)

    This count circle in Chambers County includes High Island and Anahuac NWR. Newcomers are welcome to join! Compilers this year are Steve Mayes and David Sarkozi. If you are interested in participating, please contact Steve Mayes at

  • Brazoria-Columbia Bottomlands (TXBR)

    The Brazoria - Columbia CBC includes habitats for its namesake, Brazoria – Columbia Bottomland Hardwoods. It includes several USFW tracts, private ranch properties, large reservoirs, and many small ponds. Sites include Bar-X Ranch, Columbia Lakes, Hudson Woods USFW tract, Eagle Nest Lake USFW tract, Brazoria Reservoir, Harris Reservoir, southern Nash Ranch, amongst others, all inside Brazoria County. Please contact the Compiler if you would like to participate in the count. Compiler: Martin Hagne,

  • The Brazos Bend Count Circle includes Brazos Bend State Park, and a wealth of different ecosystems in adjacent lands. Many of the properties we survey are closed to birders the rest of the year. Rarities in recent years include Zone-tailed Hawk, Great Kiskadee, Green-tailed Towhee, and more. Birders of all experience levels are welcome, and there are many teams/areas to choose from. Strong leadership will be assigned for all groups and the park entry fee is waived for participants. Whether you're in the mood for a stroll in the park, or a backcountry hike, we've got a team for you! To sign up, go to our website at or contact compiler Justin Bower at Check the website for details on the Count Dinner. Our participants make the difference, so we hope to see you there!

  • Buffalo Bayou [west Houston] (TXBF)

    This is one of the few CBCs that is set almost entirely in an urban environment. The count circle does contain a few areas of undeveloped land that usually hold a few surprises since they are surrounded by development. The count circle is centered at the Houston Audubon's Edith L. Moore Sanctuary. It extends from Memorial Park on the east to beyond Hwy 6 on the west; from the Southwest Freeway at West Belt on the south to FM 529 near Jersey Village on the north. This area includes sizable chunks of excellent habitat: Houston Arboretum, Art Storey Park, Addicks & Barker Reservoirs, Bear Creek Park and Buffalo Bayou. It is possible to see up to 15 species of sparrows on this count, including the elusive Henslow's and Grasshopper Sparrows. Other "Special Birds" seen over the past several years have been: Hooded Merganser, American Bittern, Solitary Sandpiper, American Woodcock, Common Ground-Dove, Black Phoebe, Couch's Kingbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Towhee, Eastern Towhee, Rusty Blackbird, Purple Finch and Pine Siskin. We would like you to join in the fun and help us eclipse the high count of 132 species. There are two ways to participate: (1) Be a Field Observer - Join one of the teams in the field. (2) Be a Feeder/Yard Watcher - Because so much of the Buffalo Bayou CBC area is residential, Feeder Watchers (those who stay at home and observe their feeder, yard and/or neighborhood) are extremely important to the count and greatly increase the efficiency of the count by observing species that otherwise would not be seen, such as hummingbirds. Contact: compiler Adam Wood,, 713-997-9550.

  • Monday, December 14, 2020
    Some of the locations visited in this count include: Hermann Park, Memorial Park, MD Anderson Prairie, Rice University Prairie, Hogg Bird Sanctuary, Buffalo Bayou Park, West 11th Street Park, Woodland Park, Sims Nature Center and more! All skill levels are welcome. We will have experienced birders leading the groups. The compiler is Anna Vallery. Please email Anna at if you are interested in participating and your top two area choices (see map by clicking on the name of the CBC). Once you have been assigned to an area, the area leader will contact you with additional information on meeting location and time. We will be sending out follow-up emails as we get closer regarding countdown dinner location. This count is traditionally held on the first Monday of the CBC season.

  • Cypress Creek - Katy Prairie (TXCY): 1/1

    Friday, January 1, 2021
    The Cypress Creek is traditionally held on New Year's Day. If you have participated before, please contact your area leader directly. If you are new to the count or would like to switch areas, please contact an area leader of your choice or Kendra Kocab ( Otherwise, please be at John Paul Landing in the morning, and we will assign you to an area then. Beginners are welcome as are advanced birders and all skill levels in between. Everyone can participate and contribute. Anyone going with the North area or the KPC groups MUST sign a release or they cannot enter KPC property. It will save time if they bring a signed copy of the release form . We have maps, bird lists, and detail forms which we will send to area leaders. If you would like to have your personal copy of any of these documents just e-mail and ask.

  • Freeport (TXFR)

    The count is consistently one of the top ten in the country and finds the largest number of species of any on the Upper Texas Coast. Habitat includes seashore, barrier islands, prairie & woodland. The circle is divided into eight areas, each with its own leader & unique habitats. (Count Circle Map) For information & assignments, contact compiler Mike Austin (

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  • Galveston (TXGA)

    Although this count has very limited land area and a particularly small amount of wooded areas, it still typically is a top 20 or near top twenty U.S. CBCs. This count is open to anyone who would like to participate and all areas need more observers. If you want to see some great birds, join us. This count undoubtedly produces the most species for the available land area (much of the count circle is water) of all U.S. CBCs. The compilers are Lalise and Greg Mason,

  • Galveston West End

    The West End of Galveston Island contains some wonderful birding habitat, including Houston Audubon's Dos Vacas Muertas Sanctuary. The compiler is Sally Pachulski. If you're interested in participating, please contact Sally at or Cynthia Hughes at

  • Houston [Baytown] (TXHO)

    This count includes the area around Baytown. All levels of experience are encouraged to participate! Area leaders please email your availability so we can plan accordingly. David Sarkozi is the compiler. Those wishing to participate should contact David ( CBC Map by David Sarkozi

  • Huntsville [Walker Co.] (TXHU)

    This is a wonderful time to introduce children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family members and friends to the wonderful world of birds. Sponsored by Huntsville Audubon. For more information, contact or check our website/Facebook page.

  • Johnson Bayou - SW Louisiana (LAJB)

    Johnson Bayou CBC has a rich history beginning in 1976 to present. Though the count is located just across the state line in Louisiana, most participants are from Texas and everyone is welcome. While much of the area is private, local landowners have allowed access to their property for this count, areas rarely birded and normally inaccessible to birders at other times offering a good chance for rarities. Areas covered include beach, coastal cheniers, marsh and grasslands. Johnson Bayou is located off Hwy 82 in Louisiana just across from Pleasure Island, TX (east of Sabine Pass). From Port Arthur take Hwy 82 east for about 15 miles into LA. Please contact Gary Kelley (, telephone 409-679-1616) for more information, assignments and directions.

  • Matagorda County (TXMM): 12/14

    Monday, December 14, 2020
    Note: This year there won't be a countdown banquet during the evening of the CBC. Birders should follow local Covid 19 guidelines at the time of the CBC.
    Most of the count is on private land and participation in the CBC is the only way to gain access to some very productive wildlife lands. The diversity of the CBC is great and most sections have multiple exclusives. The CBC features extensive native grasslands, brushlands, floodplain forests, beaches and coastal marshes. We need skilled birders to scan for pelagics over the Gulf from land, skilled shorebirders to ride on boats to survey expansive mudflats and marshes of the delta of the Colorado River, and birders to survey narrow forest areas along the river for lingering neotrops. The count is always held on the first Monday of the CBC season. Contact compiler Brent Ortego, or 361-827-4691 cell, for count assignments. Resources: Count circle map (static image), Interactive map (Google Earth required).

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  • Old River (TXOR): 12/27

    Sunday, December 27, 2020
    The count covers all points within 7.5 miles of Lake Charlotte. This is less than an hour's drive east of Houston. The count circle for this count centers in Lake Charlotte in Chambers Co. and takes in almost all of the Wallisville Project, all the way out to the far back in of Trinity Bay and north into the southern part on Liberty Co. Please contact count compiler David Hanson:, if you'd like to participate or have any questions.

  • Orange County (TXOC)

    Habitat covers marsh, woodlands, and the Cow Bayou watershed. All are invited, even if you are not an experienced birder or are only able to bird for part of the day. Feeder watchers are welcome to participate. Let us know in advance and we will find a suitable group for you to join. The more pairs of eyes in a group, the more birds will be seen. Contact Gary Kelley (, telephone 409-679-1616), for more information.

  • San Jacinto Wilderness (TXSJ): 1/2

    Saturday, January 2, 2021
    Juxtaposed across three counties, this unique inland circle is situated where Big Thicket meets Coastal Prairie. A broad and complex ecotone, it's laced through and through with wild rivers and bottomlands, as well as extensive farms and subdivisions. On this count, kayakers course down the most scenic rivers in the region, while other bands of birders tour subdivisions by car. A huge wilderness park is its linchpin, and large private ranches offer a birding and hiking adventure that can be the equal of anywhere in the UTC. Welcome to the San Jacinto Wilderness. For more information please contact David Henderson at (compiler - cell: 281-827-3729), or Bruce Bodson (, 832-882-1657 - cell) if you wish to canoe/kayak.

  • San Bernard NWR (TXSB)

    This unique count provides opportunities to bird areas of the refuge not normally open to the public, including the Bludworth tract along Cocklebur Slough and the nearby McNeill tract which boasts the official state champion Live Oak. Also open for counters is the state's Nannie Stringfellow Wildlife Management Area. We have rail buggy slots open for those hoping to see Yellow and possibly even Black Rails. We will have our historic chefs, Ron Bisbee and Marty Cornell, heading up the team cooking the famous countdown dinner of seafood gumbo! Although this count still provides the small count atmosphere, it has plenty of big count diversity with 190 or more species most years. Contact the co-compilers Ron Weeks ( or phone evenings 979-299-0066) and Jennifer Wilson ( or phone daytime 979-964-4011) to sign up.

  • Sea Rim State Park (TXSR)

    This count in Jefferson County includes Sea Rim SP, Texas Point NWR, and parts of J.D. Murphree WMA and McFaddin NWR as well as the Sabine Pass area. If not otherwise assigned in advance, meet at the stop sign on Highway 87 in Sabine Pass (where Highway 87 turns west) at 7:00 am. Be advised that public restrooms are very limited in Sabine Pass. If you are able to bring a boat for either shallow lake (Keith Lake area), the Sabine Neches Waterway, or the Gulf close in to Sea Rim SP, please contact in advance. Others are also requested to contact in advance if possible. Because more and more area leaders are going straight to their assigned areas, it is becoming difficult to provide those who show up without notice at the above mentioned location with meaningful assignments. Sponsored by Golden Triangle Audubon Society. Check their website for last minute updates. Contact John Whittle (, 409-722-4193) for details.

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  • Spring Creek (TXSC): 12/19

    Saturday, December 19, 2020
    This count, sponsored by the Piney Woods Wildlife Society, covers a 15-mile diameter circle that is roughly centered in The Woodlands at I-45 and Rayford-Sawdust road. This includes The Woodlands, the ExxonMobil campus in SpringWoods, much of Spring, part of Hooks airport, part of Klein, Pundt & Mercer parks, and down to FM1960. Feeder watchers are also encouraged to participate. Contact compiler Claire Moore at for more information or to sign up.

  • Trinity River (TXTN): 12/29

    Tuesday, December 29, 2020
    Areas to be counted include the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Tarkington Prairie, and Gaylor Lake. We will meet at 7:00 AM at the corner of HWY 105 and FM 2518. This is about 3 miles east of the old location at a new gas station with nice bathrooms. Some folks will bird the "bottoms" so be sure to bring a sack lunch, rubber knee boots and other appropriate outdoor clothing. Birdwatchers of all levels are welcome. If you have any questions you can contact Stuart Marcus at 936/334-4754 (new cell number) or If you call and Stuart doesn't know your phone number, please leave a message (too many spams). Note that we must social distance and there will be no carpooling unless you come with somebody you already know.

  • Turkey Creek (TXTC)

    This count in Hardin and Tyler Counties includes the Turkey Creek and Hickory Creek Savannah Units of the Big Thicket National Preserve. Meet at the Big Thicket Visitor Center on US69 at FM420, about 7 miles north of Kountze at 6:30 AM. Sponsored by the Big Thicket National Preserve. Contact John Whittle ( at 409-722-4193 for more information.

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  • Citgo
  • BP
  • Chevron Retiree Association
  • Land Sea & Sky
  • Shell Oil Company Foundation
  • Strabo Tours
  • Tropical Birding