CBC - La Grange Waterford


Based on guidelines issued from the National Audubon Society the following procedures will be in place for the upcoming La Grange/Waterford CBC:

  • There will be NO kick-off breakfast (sorry, Fruit Yard Restaurant…).

  • There will be NO compilation dinner (will miss Dave’s chili and Sharon’s pumpkin roll).

  • There should be no non-bubble (social pod) birder carpooling.

  • Birders are encouraged to have a mask at the ready to don if other non-bubble (social pod) birders get too close.

  • We will have a compilation Zoom meeting at 6:00 PM on 12/19.

  • All normal area documentation should be collected and digitally scanned/photographed and sent to jimgain@sbcglobal or dropped into the shared Google folder CALW CBC Files 2020.

ASAP PLEASE NOTIFY Jim Gain (jimgain@sbcglobal.net) if you want to participate in this socially-distanced outdoor event.

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: Saturday, December 19, 2019

MEETING TIME/PLACE: Please see new COVID-19 information above.



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.

    • Mostly Driving Areas: Area 1 Warnerville Rd and Area 5 Hawkins Rd

    • Mostly Walking Areas: Area 2 Cooperstown Rd and Area 7 Modesto Reservoir

RESTROOM ACCESS: Most do not have good restroom (RR) access so you will want to think ahead about that access. Best RR spots would be at the Turlock Lake Picnic Area (fee) or Modesto Reservoir (fee) or back in Waterford.

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 (FROM YOUR BUBBLE/SOCIAL POD ONLY) 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, shine or snow. 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.

(SUSPENDED DURING COVID-19) 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 over a bowl of warm chili. The Countdown Dinner will take place at the home of Dave and Sharon Froba. Your area leader will have the directions.


California La Grange Waterford CBC Data (Link to Google Sheet)


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


(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!

Please visit the eBird support site Bird Counting Best Practices


AREA 1: Warnerville Rd. - Mostly driving

    • Area Leader - Kathy Rasmussen (2020 - ?)

    • Tom Myers (2020 - ?)

    • Kaitlyn Sanchez (2020 - ?)

AREA 2: Cooperstown Rd. - Mixture of driving and walking

    • Area Leader - David Froba (froba@comcast.net) (2020 - ?)

    • Doone Cockrell & Lynn Green (2020 - ?)

AREA 3: Bobcat Flat

AREA 4: Joe Domecq/Basso Bridge - Mixture of driving and walking

AREA 5: Hawkins Rd - Mostly driving, but does include some walking around the Dave Wilson nursery.

AREA 6: Turlock Lake - Mixture of driving and walking

    • Area Leader - Jim Gain (jimgain@sbcglobal.net) (2020 - Y)

    • Richard Taylor (tentative)

    • Richard Brown (2020 - Y)

    • CeCe Hurst (2020 - ?)

AREA 7: Modesto Reservoir - Mostly walking, some driving

    • Area Leader - John Harris (johnh@mills.edu) (2020 - Y)

    • Jody Hallstrom (2020 - N)

    • Terry De Vries?