Count birds for Christmas with Audubon

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Get ready to count some crows – and (however unlikely) a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s time again for the annual Christmas bird count, a Sacramento area tradition for local birders as well as bird-watching enthusiasts throughout the nation. Now in its 114th year, it’s considered the world’s longest-running “citizen science” survey.

The Sacramento chapter of the Audubon Society will hold its annual Christmas count on Dec. 22 and needs volunteers to help tally the local feathered population, including thousands of migratory birds that flock to our area during winter months. Folsom birders will be counting Dec. 29. For families, a special “Sacramento Kids Christmas Count” will wrap up the count season Jan. 11.

All you need to participate are binoculars and patience. Beginners, who will be paired with more experienced watchers, are welcome.

“The counts are part of a countrywide program of the National Audubon Society in which thousands of birders at hundreds of sites tally bird populations during the Christmas holidays,” explained Bill Dillinger of Sacramento Audubon. “In California alone, more than 5,000 birders will count the birds in more than a hundred 15-mile circles scattered from Eureka to the Salton Sea.

“It’s both recreational and educational, but also provides valuable information on bird population trends helpful to research projects on endangered species, effects of habitat changes and many other matters of scientific interest,” Dillinger added.

Bird watchers interested in participating should contact Mark Cudney at for the Sacramento count. Contact Chris Conard, or (916) 203-1610, for the Folsom count. For more information on these and other counts, click on the chapter’s website,


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