Once again this year, the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society will join chapters across the country and in North and South America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean to take part in the National Audubon Society’s 116th annual Christmas Bird Count.
The initial San Fernando Valley CBC was held in 1957 making this our 59th successive CBC. Over the years there have been some interesting changes in bird populations in the count circle as the valley has transitioned into a more suburban area.
Last year’s results were disappointing, but hopefully just a single year glitch and not an indication of a long term trend. We counted only 120 species and worse yet, just 9991 individuals. This compares with our average since 2000, counting 128 species and 15,935 individuals, a 37.5% decline in the number of individuals – a red alert in conservation terms.
Thoughts are that the long term drought or perhaps more urbanization was the cause, however it’s just as likely we did not have enough counters in the field on count day. Often we have 60 counters, but last year, only 44.
To get a more comprehensive indication of the health of bird population in the valley, we need more counters. Extensive birding experience is not a prerequisite, only a willingness to come out and count—wind, rain, or shine. Those unable to join one of the count groups may assist by noting species and numbers of birds at backyard feeders local parks and neighborhoods provided such counts take place within a 7.5 mile radius circle from the count center at the intersection of Balboa and Nordhoff. Please report all such counts along with the time spent observing to Jim Moore by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org no later than than January 8, 2017.