SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Audubon Society invites birders, Rio Grande Valley residents, Winter Texans, visitors, and those with an interest in birding to join a team for the 123rd annual Christmas Bird Count.

The Christmas Bird Count is an eight-day event divided by areas with established count circles.

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

Local count areas

  • Dec. 14 — Coastal Tip,
  • Dec. 17 — Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge,
  • Dec. 22 — Weslaco,
  • Dec. 27 — Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge,
  • Dec. 30 — Anzalduas-Bentsen,
  • Dec. 31 — Harlingen,
  • Jan. 1 — Falcon Dam and State Park,
  • Jan. 4 — Brownsville,

The Coastal Tip area encompasses Laguna Vista, Laguna Heights, Port Isabel, South Padre Island and south to the Rio Grande River.

McAllen, Hidalgo, Sharyland, Pharr, San Juan and Alamo are within the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Circle.

Yellow-Rumped Warblers visit in the winter (Photo by Anita Westervelt)

How to participate

“If you have a yard full of birds in a count area, invite a team; they may be able to visit on count day,” the society stated.

Bird enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the count from their own yards if they are within one of the designated areas. To find out if you are within a designated area, participants may contact one of the teams listed above.

For a quick check to see the area of a count, click here. A list of birds and information will be sent upon request.

For more information on the Christmas Bird Count or to sign up to participate, visit

123 years of bird counting

The bird counting tradition dates back to when officers in the then-newly established Audubon Society proposed to take a census of birds rather than hunt them for sport.

Globally, the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count includes destinations and countries from as far north as the Artic Bay, east from St. Jon’s and Ferryland in Newfoundland, west to Southern Guam, and from the northernmost area of Alaska, south through Canada, the U.S., Mexico, South America and down to the Drake Passage in the South Atlantic Ocean, the release stated.