Bird Count for Kids Adds Up

On January 9th PRNSA hosted the fourth annual Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids) at our Clem Miller Environmental Education Center. The free public event introduces children and families to bird counts and gets them out exploring nature together. Every year for over a century, tens of thousands of volunteers take part in the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action.This rigorous event rarely includes young children. When we created the Point Reyes CBC4Kids event in 2011 with Sonoma Birding and the National Park Service one of our shared goals was to grow a new generation of citizen scientists. Each year we see many returning participants who have made this fun event a family tradition.

With some of the greatest bird diversity and numbers of any national park in the country (490 or 54% of all North American bird species), the park is the perfect outdoor classroom for our event. By the end of the day, participants learned how to identify and count birds and why this work helps natural resource managers assess the health of an ecosystem.

Despite the heavy drizzle (everyone was glad for the moisture!), over 100 participants divided into 10 groups and set off to explore a variety of habitats off Limantour Road and the Giacomini Wetlands. Two of the groups had Spanish-speaking guides. We counted 68 species and 765 individual birds! Eight of these species were new to our CBC4Kids bird checklist. The kids were treated to a visit from The Bird Rescue of Sonoma County who brought an American kestrel and Red tailed hawk to share with the group.

The CBC4Kids program was created in 2007 by Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie of Sonoma Birding, who have expanded this program into a North American including Canada. Point Reyes National Seashore was the first national park to host a CBC4Kids event.

SAVE THE DATE: Next year’s Christmas Bird Count for Kids will take place on January 10, 2015

Thank You to Our 2014 Event Sponsors

The Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma

Bovine Bakery

Point Reyes Schoolhouse Compound

Toby's Feed Barn

West Marin Event Library (West Marin Community Services)