Beak Ahead at the 2018 Christmas Bird Count - NBC Southern California

Beak Ahead at the 2018 Christmas Bird Count

It's just about that time to watch the skies, trees, and cliffsides, all to take important note of any avian visitors you spy.

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    December's arrival means avian-focused volunteering for many Southern Californians. Find a bird count near you, and help naturalists, scientists, and bird lovers keep track of what winged visitors are stopping through.

    What to Know

    • Several December dates ahead

    • San Bernardino, Joshua Tree, Salton Sea, Death Valley

    • Find more info through the National Audubon Society

    A door-to-door census is always a massive and impressive undertaking, for sure.

    But consider that other censuses exist in this world, beyond the ones involving us, and many of these counts have nothing to do with one human taking extensive notes about another human.

    Well, hold up.

    Humans are involved, on the census-taking side, at least, and they're wielding binoculars, and warm jackets, and rain hats, too, sometimes.

    And the censusees, in this case? They're birds, lots of birds, and finding them up in the branches of a sequoia, or nestled along a rocky cliffside, is key to the count's success.

    Such counts come along around December and January, and volunteering to keep an eye out for our sky friends is as easy as determining when your favorite natural area will be holding its annual Christmas Bird Count.

    It's a super-important event, one that clues scientists into what is happening with our bird populations, how they fluctuate, what fluctuations might mean, and so forth.

    In fact, let's just truck out its mondo billing: The Audobon-helmed count is "... the nation's longest-running community science bird project," one that "... fuels Audubon's work throughout the year."

    Where to start? 

    The Audubon Christmas Bird Count around the San Bernardino Valley begins on Saturday, Dec. 15, and locations that day include Idyllwild and Mill Creek at Redlands. 

    There are later counts in the month, too, like the one happening at Salton Sea North on the final Saturday of 2018.

    If you'll be up in the Eastern Sierra soon, look into joining the Mono Basin bird count on Dec. 18 or the one in Death Valley on the first day of winter, Dec. 21.

    Not to ruffle any feathers, but do keep in mind that the Christmas Bird Count is different from Audubon's Great Backyard Bird Count, which flaps into view each February.

    For more information on that, turn your beak in the direction of the Great Backyard Bird Count site now.

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