Date: 12/5/18 10:25 am From: Josiah Clark <josiah.clark621...> Subject: [SFBirds] Xmas count birding tactics
This Saturday, December 8 I will be leading a Birding Strategy field trip for the Marin Audubon Society at the very nearby Fort Baker just across the bridge.
We will certainly be looking for the many cool birds that live in this rarely birded area as we discuss ways to raise the bar on citizen science.
Committed counters from all counts, especially area leaders are encouraged to participate. Bring the map of your area and a checklist it you have one.
Christmas Bird Counts are not field trips! But it would be great to see some of you on Saturday for this one.
A few take away points for counters are listed below:
1) Avoid or minimize early meetings. Have as many competent counters as possible start in their own areas independently at dawn. This is the most precious time of day, meet at a productive spot for lunch to check in and talk about what you found instead.
2)Make a maximum diversity species count part of your goal. Make sure to hit some of every habitat possible before noon. Have a list of target species but focus on getting good counts of the common birds. Double back on parts of areas you missed earlier in the day if necessary. Laying eyes on as many individuals as possible while counting them is the best way to find a rare bird anyway.
3) recognize that CBCs are not field trips. Running your CBC area like a field trip diminishes the count and lessons coverage. Spreading out and maximizing coverage raises the bar for citizen science and fledges more independent counters.
4)Put beginning and slower Birders in a group together. Match active birders with more difficult to access to terrain. Encourage experience Birder‘s to Bird on their own. Larger groups of birders tend to miss birds as they are talking and do not hear the calls. Break off into pairs when possible.
5) Maintain good counting habits. Keep updating lists regularly. When counting large groups of birds start counting at the edges and work towards the central mass, this often reveals much larger numbers. Make a special efforts for birds like sparrows and Crows, which are seen constantly through the day but often miss being counted.
6) Make efforts to get to the furthest points of interest in your area first and work your way back rather than creep ahead birding slowly. You are unlikely get to these areas if you wait until later in the day.
7) Consider using mountain bikes or kayaks to access new parts of your area as walking time to areas of interest can be prohibitive. If long hikes are necessary and make sure counters are well provisioned so they can stay out there to complete the tasks at hand.
Good luck and happy counting!
Josiah Clark, your Habitat Potential birding strategist
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