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 CBC Bird Count Results

2012-2013 Peoria CBC (Excel Spreadsheet)

 2011-2012 Peoria Details (pdf)

2012-2012 Peoria Details (Excel Spreadsheet)

2011-2012 Chillicothe Details & Report (pdf)

2011-2012 Chillicothe + Comprehensive Details  1992-2012 (Excel Spreadsheet)

 CBC Count Circles

2009-2020 Peoria Count Circle

2010-2021 Chillicothe Count Circle


Peoria Eagle Count:

2012 Eagle Nature Foundation Annual Report

52nd Eagle Count


2011 Annual Report from Eagle Nature Foundation on 51st annual Eagle Count

(pdf 8.3 MB)

Eagle Count

Photo Gallery

Sub-adult Bald Eagle

Photo Gallery:

Chillicothe Christmas Bird Count

Bird Counts & More

Peoria Audubon Society participates in three bird counts each year and a variety of related monitoring activities:

  • 2024/2025 Christmas Bird Counts - 125nd Annual National Count
    Peoria Audubon sponsors three count circles in the Peoria area.  The 125th annual Christmas Bird Counts of the National Audubon Society are scheduled from December 14, 2024 through January 5, 2025.  Contacts and tentative dates for the individual local Peoria area bird counts are:

    • Peoria - December 21, 2024

      Mike Miller  (309-273-7312)

    • Chautauqua - December 28, 2024
      Rick Fox (309-369-5330)
    • Chillicothe - January 4, 2025
      Tracy Fox (309-369-5331)

FAQs - Christmas Bird Counts


What do you do on a bird count?

Teams of birders go "into the field" in a defined area within the 15-mile diameter count circle and take a census of birds.  [Peoria count circle is shown below.  A separate count circle is defined for Chautauqua and for Chillicothe.]  This means that each bird the team sees is identified and counted.  With large flocks, a scientific estimate is made on the number in the flock.  The time and distance traveled (both on foot and in a vehicle) is logged.  Each team is responsible to report on the species they find within their areas. 


At the national level, the count data from the 2000+ individual count circles is uploaded and entered into a database for establishing statistical and historical trend analysis.  Researchers and private citizens can access the national data.  Click to Learn More about the data & research. 


What if I am a novice and not good at identifying a species?

Novice birders are teamed up with people more seasoned at identifying and counting the expected species.  It is a great opportunity for a beginning birder to go out and learn more about the diversity of birds around us.  The pace is leisurely and, although the data is scientifically valid, it is important to take your time and have fun!  Each team determines where and when to take breaks - which takes on an increased importance when the temperatures are low.  Peoria Audubon encourages beginning birders to join in the count.  Each team leader takes pride in making the experience enjoyable for the novices. 


How do I go on a count?

Contact one (or more) of the above count organizers to go out and count birds.  In each of the identified regions within a count circle, a team leader will contact the team members to get organized and discuss any logistics or answer any questions. 


How long have bird counts been conducted?

The Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, is one of the nation's longest-running examples of citizen science.  Started in 1900, the number of local bird counts have have expanded to include 2215 locations in the Western Hemisphere (each identified as a 15-mile diameter count circle).  The Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world!


When the data from each of the local count circles is combined, this wildlife census becomes a useful tool to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation actions.  In the 2010/11 count:

  • Over 60,000 participants

  • 20 countries

  • 2215 count circles in the western Hemisphere

  • Over 61,300,000 birds identified and reported in 2010/2011

More Info on Bird Counts from National Audubon


Recent Bird Count Results

2011/2012 Local Christmas Bird Count Results

The Peoria CBC was held on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 with 15 participants, sighting 67 total species.  Among the notables were:

  • Two flocks of Eurasian Tree Sparrows, with 52 individuals, was sighted at the Greater Peoria Sanitary District plant in SE Peoria. 

  • A flock of approximately 1000 Brown-headed Cowbirds was seen in the Creve Coeur/North Pekin area.

  • All teams reported Ring-billed Gulls to end up as the greatest total number of a single species.

  • 32 Bald Eagles were reported for Peoria

The Chillicothe CBC was held on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.  Tracy Fox, Chillicothe Count Compiler claimed that:

  • "Thanks so much to all fourteen participants who made this the best count for which I have records (since the 1992-1993 season).

  • We hit 80 species, easily besting the 78 species achieved with 20 participants in 1999-2000. We had 17 species of ducks and geese including Greater White-fronted and Cackling geese and Woodies, Wigeon, Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup and Ruddies.

  • The absence of mergansers was somewhat surprising. An American White Pelican (possibly injured) was seen south of the Chillicothe island several times during the day.

  • Both Thayer’s and Glaucous gulls turned up and Eurasian Collared Doves and Tree Sparrows were found on the east side of the river.

  • Three species of owls and all the woodpeckers were as well as the typical range of winter songbirds were accounted for. Singleton Winter Wrens and Hermit Thrushes were seen on the east side along with an Eastern Towhee.

  • With the mild weather, it was surprising that no snipe or mockingbirds were found. Results in other areas had left me hoping for a warbler species beyond Yellow-rumped, something that did not appear.

  • On the other hand, the warm temperatures may have been the reason no Red-breasted Nuthatches were found and sparrow diversity was surprisingly low with only seven species reported.

  • It was interesting to note that only two of seven teams found robins, with only 4 reported for the entire count compared to 804 last year. Talking with Matthew Winks about it, he indicated the robin populations fluctuate with the hackberry crop. There isn’t much fruit on the hackberries in my yard so maybe there’s something to that.

  • Thad Edmonds and Kelly McKay really cleaned up with 54 species, including 11 that they were the only team to see.  [Kelly is doing a marathon Christmas Bird Count season and has raced up and down the state to participate in a count every day of this year’s CBC season: December 15-Jaunary 5. Special thanks to Kelly for helping Thad coax even more out of a great territory!"

  2011-2012 Peoria Details (pdf)

 2012-2012 Peoria Details (Excel Spreadsheet)

 2011-2012 Chillicothe Details & Report (pdf)

 2011-2012 Chillicothe + Comprehensive Details  1992-2012 (Excel Spreadsheet)

2010/11 Local Christmas Bird Count Results

The Peoria Co. CBC was held on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 with 19 participants, sighting 74 species.  According to Thad Edmonds, the Peoria Count Compiler, "I think the surprises were a Turkey Vulture, a Double-crested Cormorant, and 2362 Rock Pigeons." 

The Chillicothe CBC was on Jan. 2, 2011.  Tracy Fox, Chillicothe Count Compiler said that: 

  • “Nothing exceptional to report on this year’s Chillicothe CBC: no new species, exceptional high counts or big misses. What looked like it could be a miserable day, with freezing temperatures and high winds, turned out to be a nice day to be out looking for birds.
  • Thanks to all who got up early and helped out … despite the lack of rarities and big numbers, these efforts are still critical for tracking the health of our over-wintering Central Illinois birds.
  • Together, 11 birders in 7 parties found 8910 birds of 67 species.
  • Ring-necked ducks are infrequent on the Chillicothe CBC, but this year a group of 10, a high for the count, was spotted off Spring Bay.
  • I was also pleased to see four of the seven teams saw Red-headed Woodpeckers but the overall count of 11 was still pretty low. The high counts for Chillicothe were in 1993 and 1999 when 40 Redheaded Woodpeckers were seen. This reinforces my perception that these birds were far more plentiful 15 years ago.
  • In other woodpecker news, three of the seven teams reported Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers which may be having a mini-invasion this year as several bird feeding friends have mentioned seeing them as well. The four Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers sighted tie 2009 for the high count record.
  • Misses (birds seen on at least 10 previous counts since 1992) included Killdeer and Wilson’s Snipe, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Red-winged Blackbird.”

 Presentation of 2010-2011 Peoria, Chautauqua, & Chillicothe CBC - Highlights & Summary

 2010-2011 Peoria & Chillicothe Detail Results

 2010-2011 Chautauqua Count Results

2009/10 Local Christmas Bird Count Results

Many thanks for the volunteers who braved bitter cold and blustery conditions to go out in the field and count birds. Thanks to Thad Edmonds for compiling the Peoria count, Dick Bjorklund for compiling the Chautauqua count, and Tracy Fox for compiling the Chillicothe count. Detailed species list for Peoria + Chillicothe and for the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge are presented in this newsletter.

This year, the bitter cold conditions apparently caused causing many of the birds to “hunker down” or migrate further south and not be counted Temperatures hovered around 10 °F for the Peoria CBC and stayed near zero for the Chillicothe CBC. With significant areas of the river and lakes frozen, the count of waterfowl species, typically seen, was considerably lower than in past years. Despite the cold, 17,588 individual birds, making up 76 species were counted among Peoria and Chillicothe. Results may be downloaded as a pdf file on link to the left. 

Species count was also down at Chautauqua with 78 species counted and 12871 total birds. The most counted species bird was the Canada Goose. Common Grackles were the second most counted species. However, no Grackles were seen during either the Peoria or Chillicothe counts. Horned Larks were almost as plentiful as the European Starlings.  

Notable was the debut appearance of a species, believed to be a first for the local counts, a Barrow’s Goldeneye on the Peoria count. The “rare & infrequent” Barrow’s Goldeneye was occasionally reported in the Illinois River near the Murray Baker Bridge in IBET (link available at off and on for the 2 weeks prior to the count. Thanks to Pete and Joe for their persistence and counting the Barrow’s as a Central Illinois species.

In the Chillicothe count, as with last year, the most dominant bird counted was the European Starling. During the Chillicothe count, with the near zero temperatures and frozen groundcover, a large number of juncos and horned larks were counted. The birds appeared to flit away from the frozen snow to the small patch of ground by the roads – one of the rare areas of ground that was free from frozen snow cover.

In Chillicothe and Peoria, notable was the absence of several marker species, in particular the Red-headed woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, and Killdeer. This could be an indication of the effect of habitat reduction, changing climate, and the needs of individual species. These species were generally counted during CBCs in the 1990s.

 2009-2010 Peoria & Chillicothe Results

 2009-2010 Chautauqua Results

2008/09 Local Christmas Bird Count Results


The 2008 Peoria CBC was cancelled due to an ice storm that was immediately followed up by a layer of snow. Because of the treacherous road conditions, due to safety concerns, Thad Edmonds, the Peoria CBC organizer, cancelled the Peoria count. 


Highlights: Chillicothe count on Jan. 5, 2009:

This year's count is dedicated to the memory of two Central Illinois birders -- Louise Augustine of Chillicothe and Dr. Bert Princen of Peoria. Both were fixtures on the count for many years. Louise generously shared her special places for birding west side of the Illinois River and it's no surprise that without her keen eyes we found no unusual gulls or shorebirds this winter. Bert sagely worked with another local birder, Thad Edmonds, for the past few years to ensure that the goodies he always delivered from his territory, especially Yellow-rumped Warblers and Red-breasted Nuthatches, continue to be found. Thad's fabulous finds on this count certainly upheld Bert's standard of excellence.


It was the year of the black birds with record numbers of European Starlings (12,306 well above the previous 6,250 high for the past 17 years), Rusty Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds plus good numbers of Redwings and Grackles. After finding dismal numbers of Wild Turkeys the past two years, they came out of hiding with a record count of 124.


We were also glad to spot 16 Canvasbacks, 4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, 4 Hermit Thrushes (all 17-year highs) as well as the sometimes-elusive Chipping Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Lapland Longspur and Pine Siskin. The inevitable push north occurred and both Eurasian Collared-dove and Eurasian Tree Sparrow were found this year. In all 15 observers saw 18,990 individuals of 70 species. Misses included Gadwall and Shovelers, Pheasants, Coots, and Winter Wrens.


We are especially concerned about the steep declines in Red-headed Woodpeckers and the complete absence of Bobwhite as well as Killdeer and Wilson's Snipe. Historically, all four species were regularly reported in good numbers on counts through the mid 1990s. No recent large-scale development has eliminated major tracts of habitat for any of these species. The declines are puzzling and demonstrate the fragility of individual species and how little we actually understand about the intertwined impacts of piecemeal development, the slow infill of siltation into the Illinois River, increasing climate variability and toxins in our environment.


 - Tracy Fox Chillicothe, Count Compiler


Chillicothe 2009 Detail and 1999-2008 summary (PDF)

Chillicothe 2009: Count Circles and Eagle Locations (PDF)

Chautauqua 2008-09: Species List (PDF)


2007/08 Local Christmas Bird Count Results:

Peoria 2007-08 (PDF)

Chautauqua 2007-08 (PDF)

Chillicothe 1992-2008 summary (PDF)


Highlights: Peoria CBC on Dec. 15, 2007:

  • Cloudy, snowy all day, no wind, 24-29 degrees with 20 participants, and 3 feeder watchers.

  • Saw 75 species, which is high for the Peoria area.

  • Special observations: several good sightings, such as 2 White Pelicans, 4 Ruddy Ducks,1 Peregrine Falcon,, 4 Lapland Longspurs, and 1 Rusty Blackbird.

  • Also, 31 Bald eagles during a Christmas count in Peoria is a high.

  • Sighting of all 7 woodpecker species is not common, as are the 45 Great Blue Herons sighted. Lake

Highlights: Chautauqua count on Dec. 22, 2007:

  • Warm weather through the day. 16 participants.

  • Saw 87 species of birds, which is rather low for this rich birding area.

  • Notable species: a White Pelican, 1 Common Loon, a high count of 99 Tundra Swans,

  • All three swan species were seen and 35 Eurasian Collared Doves,

Highlights: Chillicothe count on Jan. 5, 2008:

  • Warm weather and the presence of hunters made access to some riverfront areas difficult. Nonetheless counters found 13 species of swans, ducks and geese including a flyover Trumpeter Swan near the Marshall/Woodford County line, a Canvasback south of Chillicothe, and groups of 41 Lesser Scaup and 17 Hooded Mergansers near Spring Bay.

  • Raptor numbers seemed healthy with 54 Bald Eagles (35 adult and 19 immature), high counts for both Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks and an unusual Red-shouldered Hawk in Woodford County.

  • Other notable sightings included a record high of 15 Brown Creepers (most from the bottomlands north of Chillicothe), a pair of Fox Sparrows and a group of 25 Snow Buntings near Lacon. High counts were also recorded for Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers.

  • Areas of concern are the continued decline in Red-headed Woodpeckers and the complete absence of game birds (Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey and Northern Bobwhite). Fifteen Wild Turkeys were found during a scouting expedition near Spring Bay but none were actually seen on the day of the count. Additional misses included Snow Goose, Wood Duck, American Coot, Eastern Screech Owl, Winter Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler and White-crowned Sparrow.

  • Thanks to all 20 participants for another outstanding count -- 67 species and 16,631 individual birds. Next year's count is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 3, 2009.

Eagle Count along Illinois River

  • Peoria Eagle Count - Recent Results
    In late January, as part of the Eagle Nature Foundation Midwinter Eagle Count on the Upper Mississippi River and its tributaries, Peoria Audubon counts the eagles between Henry and Havana on the Illinois River. 

    Usually, five teams will go out in the field to count eagles from both sides of the Illinois River.  Generally, this count will take about 4-5 hours on the Saturday.  Note that one of the teams will be in a boat that goes down the River from Pekin to Havana. 

    In 2009 and 2010, the Illinois River not navigable for small boats.  Due to the single digit temperatures and river ice the boat team was cancelled. 

    Two teams cover Henry to Peoria and two teams cover Peoria to Havana.  Each team is on their respective side of the river.  Local recent results are inn the table below:

    Annual Peoria Eagle Count Summary
      2011 2010 2009 2008
    Henry to Peoria        
    Adults 94 28 40 38
    Sub-adults 20 3 2 3
    Immatures 27 9 11 18
    Unknown   9 1  
    Sub-Total 141 49 54 59
    Peoria to Havana        
    Adults 158 57 110 25
    Sub-adults 13 5 8 3
    Immatures 48 25 25 12
    Unknown 25 2   2
    Sub-Total 244 89 143 42
    Boat Crew: Peoria Lock & Dam to Quiver Creek
    Adults 198 River not navigable; No boat count River not navigable; No boat count 101
    Sub-adults 1  
    Immatures 180 50
    Sub-Total 379     151
    Total 764 138 197 252

    Photo Gallery from 2009 Peoria Eagle Count

Spring Bird Count

  • Spring Bird Counts -- Sat. May 4, 2024
    Each year, statewide throughout all the counties in Illinois, a Spring Bird Count is held to track bird populations at the state level.  The count also provides a recreational opportunity to get out in the field.   

    Peoria Audubon members participate in Spring Bird Counts for local counties near this time of peak spring migration.  Please volunteer your time to help out with this important benchmark of Illinois birdlife. Contacts for the individual county counts are:

    Fulton -- Rick Fox (309) 369-5330   
    Mason --

    Peoria -- Mike Miller (309) 681-2858         
    Tazewell -- Pete Fenner (309) 258-5969   
    Marshall --

The data from the count is a great tool for tracking bird populations in Illinois.  This count showcases the great diversity of birds across our state.  The Illinois Natural History Survey uses information from this count to help provide a picture of the health of our states natural areas.  All are welcome to help in this fun opportunity

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