There’s a rare Painted Redstart in a Berkeley backyard. But will it still be there on Sunday December 15th? That’s one of the questions on the minds of San Francisco and East Bay residents who will be taking part this month in the 114th Christmas Bird Count.
Golden Gate Audubon Society is organizing two counts locally that will involve more than 300 people – one centered in Oakland/Berkeley on Sunday December 15, and another centered in San Francisco on Friday December 27.
Hundreds of other birders will take part this month in counts elsewhere in the Bay Area, organized by other Audubon chapters.
As part of the CBC, birders fan out within a 15-mile circle to count every species and every individual bird in a 24-hour period. They stumble in the dark to count owls; charter boats and paddle kayaks to count water birds; tromp through cemeteries and parks to tally songbirds and raptors.
They are particularly eager to find rarities, such as the Painted Redstart (normally native to Mexico and Arizona) that caused a stampede of birders to a Berkeley backyard in late November.
Results of the count – sponsored every year since 1900 by National Audubon Society – provide important data to help scientists track trends in bird populations.
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Want to cover a CBC team in the field? We have lots of opportunities in both the Oakland and SF counts, including teams with some young (aged 10-15) birders, teams looking for particular rarities like the Painted Redstart, and teams in scenic areas such as kayaking near the Oakland Airport.