Sunday, December 27
The date is set for this year’s Oceanside Christmas Bird Count! BVAS has been sponsoring the Oceanside CBC for as long as we can remember, making it a cherished holiday tradition. Last year’s Oceanside tally was 192 species. In addition to its high species total (generally within the top 12 counts in the nation), the Oceanside count is known for its high level of participation. Over 130 birders joined in the effort last year.
For those new to this game, here’s a quick summary. The Audubon Society CBC was begun in 1900, when a group of friends in New York City decided that, rather than participate in a Christmas Day “Side Hunt” of birds, it might be more enjoyable and beneficial to the birds they treasured to go out and count the number of species they could identify in a day. The Christmas count quickly spread to other neighboring cities and states, and now has become an international phenomenon with over 2,500 individual CBCs conducted worldwide last year. To be considered an official CBC, it must be registered with the National Audubon Society and must be conducted during one 24-hour period between December 14 and January 5. An official center point for the count is selected, and a 7-mile radius is drawn around the center to determine the count circle. All sightings must be recorded within the boundaries of that count circle.
The Oceanside CBC count circle is divided into different sectors, each with its own leader and team of birders. Each team meets early on the day of the count and goes off to survey its area. After a full morning of birding, the teams begin gathering at the Nature Center to turn in their results, compare notes, and enjoy a luncheon of Annette’s famous chili. At 2 p.m., “The “Reading of the List” commences. As the coordinator goes down the list, team members shout out whether they observed that particular species in their area. There are always a few unexpected sightings worthy of exclamation, as well as notable “no-shows” from among the list of expected birds. Once the overall tally is completed, participants head home with a warm glow of accomplishment from time well spent and a job well done.
Everyone is invited to participate in the Oceanside CBC, regardless of their level of expertise. If you’re interested, please send an email to Andy Mauro at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address, phone number, and a sentence or two to indicate your general level of birding experience. Join us!