DATE - 12/16/2023

ASAP PLEASE NOTIFY Jim Gain ( 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 16, 2023

MEETING TIME/PLACE: Participants will meet at The Fruityard Restaurant on 7948 Yosemite Blvd. in Modesto.  You can meet at 6:00 a.m. if you wish to eat breakfast there, or at 6:30 a.m. to receive your birding area packet.



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 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.

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 Jim Gain. 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.


(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 1 - Warnerville Rd Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 2 - Cooperstown Rd. 

Mixture of driving and walking

AREA 2 - Cooperstown Rd Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 3 - Bobcat Flat NOTE for 2022/23 Will not have access this year

Mostly walking

AREA 3 - Bobcat Flat Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 4 -  Joe Domecq/Basso Bridge

Mixture of driving and walking

AREA 4 - Joe Domecq/Basso Bridge Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 5 -  Hawkins Rd 

Mostly driving, but does include some walking around the Dave Wilson nursery.

AREA 5 - Hawkins Rd Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 6 - Turlock Lake 

Mixture of driving and walking

AREA 6 - Turlock Lake Hotspots (see map below)

AREA 7 - Modesto Reservoir 

Mostly walking, some driving

AREA 7 - Modesto Reservoir Hotspots (see map below)

Using eBird Mobile App on the CBC.pdf