Founded in 1904

Affiliated with the National Audubon Society

Our Mission: To bring the excitement of birds to our community through birding, education and the conservation of bird habitats

Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley Christmas Count 2018

Saturday, December 15

As things calm down following another busy and productive fall migration period, thoughts inevitably turn to the holidays and to local Christmas Bird Counts. And for most of us, there is none more local than the Pasadena-San Gabriel Valley CBC. Initiated in 1946, this is a long running count with many dedicated local birders who have been instrumental in making the Pasadena count a successful one. This year marks our 72nd anniversary and my 27th year as coordinator and compiler.

The 2018 Christmas Bird Count will take place on Saturday, December 15. If you’re new to birding or just new to Christmas Bird Counts, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the avifauna of the San Gabriel Valley area and to meet others who share the same interests. You’ll also be participating in a very worthwhile citizen science project.

The center of our count is the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and Duarte Road. The count area extends seven and one half miles in every direction from that spot to cover the standard fifteen mile diameter count circle. There is a lot of habitat diversity in the count circle and this is a big reason why we regularly record 160 species or more.

As might be expected, some bird populations have remained stable, some have increased and others have declined. Introduced species, range expansion, habitat loss and predation are just a few of the factors behind these changes. If you’re familiar with Eurasian Collared-Doves, Loggerhead Shrikes, Great-tailed Grackles, Scaly-breasted Munias and our many introduced parrots and parakeets you’ll already be well aware of some of the population trends.

On count day we record every bird that can be identified by sight or sound within the circle and ultimately we’re able document population changes over the years and decades. Our mid-December CBC produces a snapshot of early winter birdlife in the San Gabriel Valley and local foothills and over 280 different species have been recorded over the history of the count.

The traditional pre-count meeting will be held at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center on Wednesday, December 12, at 7:30pm. At the meeting there will be an introduction to the Christmas Bird Count, an overview of the count methods and procedures and checklists, and we’ll distribute checklists and other count materials. Count areas will also be assigned.

If you’re new to the count and want to join other participants on count day, this meeting is a great place to meet them and pick an area to count. Can’t make the meeting? Don’t worry, it’s easy to coordinate an area assignment via email.

Also, be sure not to miss the post­count dinner and wrap­up following the count. Not only will we have a good dinner after a long day in the field, but you’ll also be among the first to find out what good birds were found.

For additional information, contact count coordinator Jon Fisher at JonF60@hotmail.com.

(Article written by Jon Fisher)