CBC - Caswell Westley
Established in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the longest running community science survey in North America. Stanislaus and Merced County birders of all levels are invited to participate in Stanislaus Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Counts. Each count area will have at least one experienced birder to help with identifying birds during the survey. These counts not only gather vital survey data for National Audubon Society, but they also present opportunities for birders to see dozens of species, and hundreds of individual birds, in one day. Please consider joining us for these enjoyable citizen science surveys.
DATE: Sunday, January 5, 2020
MEETING TIME/PLACE: We will meet at the Orangeburg Denney's (2052 W Orangeburg Ave. in Modesto), at 6:00 a.m. final route information will be given out around 6:30.
WHO TO CONTACT:
- Contact Harold Reeve @ 209-552-6189 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want more information.
WHAT TO EXPECT
WALKING/DRIVING: Most CBC count areas are a mixture of driving and walking and may involve driving dirt roads. During really wet years or right after a big storm, these may not be drive-able.
RESTROOM ACCESS: Most areas do not have good restroom (RR) access so you will want to think ahead about that access. Best RR spots would be at the San Joaquin River NWR Pelican Rd Parking Area or back in Modesto or Patterson.
I'M NOT AN EXPERT BIRDER - IS THAT OK? The CBC welcomes birders of all ages and experience levels. Even if you know nothing about birds, if you can see movement or hear a bird making noise you can be an excellent spotter. The CBC also appreciates non-birders who are willing to drive back-seat birders or keep a tally of observations.
IS THIS A GOOD EVENT FOR CHILDREN? Though we would love to have participants of all ages on the CBC, the field count option is not the best fit for children. We strongly encourage families to come out to the community field trips that are co-hosted with the Yokuts chapter of the Sierra Club.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING ON THE DAY OF THE COUNT? Dress for the weather! Surveyors will go out, rain or shine. Layers are strongly encouraged with a waterproof jacket and/or pants. Warm hats, socks and gloves are a must. Some areas require more walking, others more driving, so please wear appropriate footwear. Fluids, snacks and a sack lunch are also important. Binoculars will not be provided, so please bring your own.
CBC COUNTDOWN DINNER: Once the count is complete, volunteers can gather with other leaders and counters at the CBC Countdown Dinner to listen to the preliminary species results. The Countdown Dinner will take place at the home of Harold and Sherri Reeve. Your area leader will have the directions.
EBIRDING ON THE CBC
While doing your CBC, eBird Mobile makes it easy to keep your tallies through the day. Here are our tips for making your CBC eBirding as helpful as possible.
- Only submit lists that include birds observed by your CBC group: do not group lists from other birding parties together
- Keep multiple lists throughout the day: ideally one for each stop, or perhaps one for each road.
- Include only one-way distance in your traveling counts: both CBC and eBird measure distance as one-way distance
HOW TO COUNT BIRDS
(From the eBird Support website)
We encourage all eBirders to make their best estimate of bird numbers on every checklist. Most bird counting is really easy—you just identify what you see, and add the numbers together as you go. However, every now and then you'll be fortunate to run into a big flock of birds, multiple flocks, or big groups of mixed species. This is when it can get tricky, and where we're here to help.
The most important thing to remember is that your best estimate of numbers is *always* more useful than putting an “X’ to indicate presence. An “X’ could be 1 or 1,000,000! By making your best estimate, you're providing valuable information on the abundance of birds around the world: not just where the species is, but not many there are. This allows researchers to understand change in numbers over time, which is often one of the most important measures of how well a bird species is doing.
When counting birds, it's also important to keep in mind that general numbers are perfectly fine. If you estimate a flock as being 50 birds, and in reality it was 40, or 63, that's fine! Of course, if you can count exactly to 63, that'd always be better, but we understand that this isn't always possible.
Using the simple techniques outlined below, you can come up with estimates for even the most difficult bird counting situations. Soon you’ll have a good idea of how many birds are present at your local birding sites with a glance. The best part is that it gets easier the more you do it!