By Signe Hammer
Come join Audubon de México and kick off the new year with a fun day outdoors! Every year, from mid-December to early January, teams of birders in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America fan out to count, in a single day, all the birds they can find.
This year, San Miguel is counting on January 2.
The longest-running Citizen Science survey in the world, the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) involves tens of thousands of participants in over 2,300 “circles”. Everyone spends a great morning outdoors while compiling crucial data on bird-population trends.
How does it work? A 15-mile-diameter circle is marked out around the center of each CBC counting area, and teams of birders count within that area on a single day. San Miguel is one of many circles in Mexico, and this year we’ll be counting birds at three sites within our circle: El Charco del Ingenio, our beautiful botanical garden; a richly varied site along the Rio Laja, near the bridge on the new road to Guanajuato; and Peña Blanca, another bird-rich site a few miles past the Presa Allende.
Why do it? In addition to getting outside and having fun, the teams compile their bird-count numbers and a volunteer enters them online. This data, combined with that from other bird counts throughout the year, enables researchers to study the long-term status and movement of bird populations across the Americas. Combined with other surveys, CBC data provides a picture of the health of bird populations as well as how their numbers and locations are changing.
CBC data was key to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report, which predicts that, due to global warming, more than half of North America’s bird species will be forced out of their current breeding and living ranges. From CBC reports, we know that American Kestrels, the small, colorful falcons we see outside of town, are in steep decline. But, thanks to CBC data, we also know that the bright-red-faced House Finches that warble cheerily from trees around town have been increasing their range.
So whether you’re an experienced or novice birder, come help us count birds on January 2! We’ll meet at 8am on the covered walkway in front of Mega, form teams and carpool to the sites. So if you have a car, please bring it. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water and a hat. We’ll have telescopes and a few pairs of binoculars to lend. We’ll count for about 3 hours, starting at about 9am. You should be back by about 12:30, happy with your contribution to Citizen Science!
San Miguel Christmas Bird Count
Sat, Jan 2, 8am
Meet in front of Mega, on covered walkway.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-106-1746
Free: pre-registration necessary