Counting the birds, for the love of Galapagos!

Leslie León
21 Dec 20 /
Galapagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus Gould). Photo by: Joshua Vela, CDF.

December arrives and is synonymous with birds, because in this month each year, the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) in collaboration with other institutions holds the "Christmas Bird Count". But, what is this initiative about?

The "Christmas Bird Count" is an activity that began more than 100 years in the US and is now carried out in many countries around the world. The CDF and the Galapagos National Park Directorate’s Galapagos Landbird Conservation project, joined this initiative five years ago with the aim of involving the Galapagos community in assessing the status of the archipelago's land birds. These birds are not just an important part of the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, but are also famous around the globe.

Each year, our challenge is to increase the number of people who participate in the count and the sightings that we receive. This year the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has required that we change some of our activities, but there is still much to be done.

Conteo de aves 2019.
Juan Manuel García-CDF
Bird Count 2019.

There are two different ways that people can participate in the 2020 Christmas Bird Count:

1. Everyone can count!

Throughout the month of December you can participate in the open bird count, from your garden, the comfort of your home, or when you go for a walk. Capture the moment of sighting with a photograph and send it to CDF to register your report. While doing this, take the opportunity to admire the beauty of these bird species and appreciate their importance in our archipelago.

How to take part?

  • Go out to the garden or terrace of your home or choose a spot on your daily walk.
  • Take a photo of all the birds you find.
  • Send your sighting and location to WhatsApp +593 993031330 or send the information to birds@fcdarwin.org.ec 
  • You can also report it via Facebook to our page: Charles Darwin Foundation.

The person who makes the most reports in December will receive a prize!

2. Formal count for the "Audubon Society"

From 14 to 31 December carry out bird watching for one or more 60-minute periods from the comfort of your home or from a chosen location and record your sightings using the official data sheet for this event.

How to participate in the Audubon Society count?

  • Send an email to sebastian.torres@fcdarwin.org.ec or 0987033636 commenting on your participation, Juan Sebastián will register you as a participant of this activity.
  • You will receive a document containing details on how to make your observations and the data sheet that you will use to record your sightings.
  • Go out to your garden or terrace (or any location where you will make the observations) and count the birds that you see during a 60-minute period., It can be on any day between December 14 and 31 and if you enjoy it you can do more than one!
  • Take a picture of all the birds you find.
  • Send your data sheets to Sebastián Torres at CDF and you will be awarded a prize.

For the CDF any bird sightings are important, but sightings of the Vermilion Flycatcher, the Galapagos Dove, the Galapagos Rail and the owls are a priority and especially welcomed.

Pájaro Brujo, Galápagos.
Rashid Cruz-CDF
Vermilion Flycatcher, Galapagos.

This year, the "Christmas Bird Count" is in collaboration with Galapagos Science Centerer (GSC) and Ecology Project International (EPI) who are helping with this initiative that, in addition to observing Galapagos birds, allows us to connect with nature and raise awareness about the protection and conservation of these unique birds for the future.

Everyone is invited to participate in the activity and together help conserve the fauna of the Galapagos reporting their sightings of these birds!


Leslie León

Communications Officer

Andres Cruz

Protect Galapagos, Impact the World

The impact you make on this small ecosystem of enormous biodiversity is part of a larger footprint you are leaving for the world's future. Join us on our mission to safeguard one of our planet’s most important natural treasures through science and conservation action by making a donation today. Thank you for making an impact with us.