Bay Area birders will soon be stumbling in the dark to count owls, tromping through cemeteries and parks to tally songbirds and raptors and chartering boats and paddling kayaks to count water birds as part of the 114th Christmas Bird Count.
The Golden Gate Audubon Society is organizing two counts that will involve more than 300 people. The first one is planned for Sunday in Oakland and Berkeley. The second one will be in San Francisco on Dec. 27.
Hundreds of other birders will take part in counts elsewhere in the Bay Area that are organized by other chapters.
Birders fan out within a 15-mile circle to count every species as well as individual birds within a 24-hour period.
Results of the count, which has been sponsored yearly since 1900 by the National Audubon Society, provide data to help scientists track bird population trends.