Santa Clarita Christmas Bird Count

The Santa Clarita Christmas Bird Count was started in 2002 as an effort to draw attention to and help track bird populations within this rapidly-changing region of northern Los Angeles County. This count includes a portion of a Audubon Important Bird Area (Santa Clara River Valley, see Cooper 2004), and has clarified and documented the winter populations of several sensitive species in the area, such as Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite, Loggerhead Shrike, and Horned Lark. Rarities spotted during the count have included Painted Redstart, Green-tailed Towhee, Winter Wren, Thayer’s Gull, and others.

Well-known birding locales within the count circle include Placerita Canyon/Walker Ranch and Castaic Lagoon. The count is part of a larger effort coordinated by the National Audubon Society, and organized locally by volunteers across the Americas for over 100 years.

The way it works is this: We meet around dawn, and organize into counting parties based on your experience and interest in various areas within the count circle. Then we split up into different cars, and meet back for lunch in the early afternoon.

Date: Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012

Meeting time: 7:00 am

Location: Western Bagel in the “Big Kmart” parking lot, corner of Valencia Blvd. and San Fernando Rd. (exit either I-5 or Hwy. 14, respectively). Their address is: 23170 W. Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita.

Post-count meeting will be around 1 pm at “Tacos y Burritos ‘El Pato'” at 22950 Lyons Ave., Newhall 91321. I’ve tested it out, and it’s good, and they have a big table that should seat our group.

Bring: Binoculars (required), gloves/mittens and WARM CLOTHES! (It can be freezing *and* windy at any point within the circle on count day. It can also be near 80 degrees F, so be prepared for anything.)

Dan Cooper,