It's that time of year again, and with the holidays comes one of my favorite bird survey seasons, the Christmas Bird Counts, or CBCs. The CBCs are national bird counts, run primarily through the National Audubon Society, and held annually around the close of the year, mid to late December, where birders from all over the U.S. participate in counts of every single species seen in a particular count circle on a particular day, to get a better understanding of the variety and volume of species in that given area. The data is then collected, complied, and compared to previous year's counts to give scientists a better understand of bird diversity and density across the U.S., and how those numbers have changed since the first count, 107 years ago, in 1900.
I've done CBCs the last maybe four or five years now, and I always find it enjoyable. Not only is it an excuse to go birding, sometimes in places usually off-limits to the public, but you know that you're participating in data collection that helps science understand how we are affecting bird populations. It's really rewarding, and you don't have to be an expert birder by any means, the count leaders make sure to pair beginners with more experienced birders to make sure the information is accurate, and all parties have a chance to participate.
I'm doing the three Orange County CBCs, as well as the South End Salton Sea count, which is still looking for participants if you're available and interested in seeing the stark eerie beauty of the sea, the temperature is far more forgiving in the winter by the way...
Those interested in participating in the South Salton Sea count, please contact Oscar Johnson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (805) 276-8878.