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For Immediate Use                                                                                               Contact: Reed Tollefson, (760) 378-2531
December 6, 2011                                                                                                            

Christmas Bird Counts in the Kern River Valley

Critical Citizen Science Opportunity

Kern River Valley Christmas Bird Counts

Weldon, CA - Over the past 112 years, the National Audubon Society has compiled data from a growing list of Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs). In 1949, Kern County bird watchers (birders) began counting wintering birds as part of this holiday tradition. Today birders test their identification skill between December 14 through January 5. Each individual bird is counted in a pre-designated 15-mile circle during a 24-hour period.

CBCs are a fun and important scientific sport that can help us appreciate the environment we all share. In the past few years CBC data on winter bird distribution has been analyzed to see if the birds could tell us something about the state of our environment. Gardeners, horticulturists, and scientists have noted that plants are blooming earlier. In turn insects are hatching earlier signaling a warming planet. Ornithologists have observed that birds are spending more time in northern climates, nesting earlier, and not migrating as far south. According to research by Audubon California, in the next few decades it is predicted that thirty-five percent of native California bird species will experience significant reductions in their geographic range due to climate change.

During the three week CBC period people from Alaska to Antarctica count birds. Of 129 Christmas Bird Counts held in California; 11 are held at least partially in Kern County. Eight local volunteers coordinate and compile the efforts of hundreds of volunteer counters. Participants are welcome to join CBCs across the county and are assigned to teams based on their bird identification skill level. It costs $5.00 to participate in each CBC which helps to defray a portion the National Audubon Society’s cost in tabulating and publishing the count results.

Bird watching can be as simple as appreciating the colorful little birds in your backyard or watching a magnificent eagle soar high above. Taken to a higher level birds begin to have names unique to the species where one can then begin to keep statistics on bird population and distribution. The sport of birding involves skill and endurance. It is fun to capture this snapshot of the natural world.

If you find it just too cold to come out on a December or January day, you can keep a list of your backyard birds and send them to your area compiler. Or if you are a landowner that loves birds and would like to have the birds counted on your property, contact us to see if there is a count in your area, we'll put you in touch with your area compiler so you can give them permission to access to your property. If you’ve ever heard yourself say, “maybe it’d be fun to learn birds,” here is your great opportunity.

To learn more contact Garrison Frost, Audubon California, Emeryville, CA. Phone (510) 601-1866 x225 or email:  

This webpage lists the schedule of all known California Christmas Bird Counts

For more information about the history of the Christmas Bird Count:



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