Golden Gate Audubon Society Christmas bird count returns after pandemic hiatus – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – More than 550 bird watchers will roam the parks, shorelines and their own backyards in Oakland, Richmond and San Francisco over the next two weeks for the annual Golden Gate Audubon Christmas Bird Count Society.

The count, halted last year due to the pandemic, counts as many birds as possible in a single day in all three cities, starting with Oakland on Sunday. Bird watchers will focus on San Francisco on December 28, followed by Richmond on January 2.

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“A lot of people preyed on the birds during COVID, now some of them are coming to join the tally,” said Siobhan Ruck, co-organizer of the San Francisco tally. “We actually have a few more newbies on the list this year, some of whom just started birding a year ago. “

The 122-year-old Audubon Society Bird Count is a citizen science project that provides insight into the health of bird populations, as well as the general health of the environment, organizers said.

This year, Richmond was added to the Golden Gate Audubon Society tally, which historically focused only on Oakland and San Francisco.

Each count aims to identify and record every bird encountered within a defined circle 15 miles in diameter – approximately 177 square miles – over the course of a calendar day.

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In recent years, Oakland’s tally has had more attendees than any other such event in the world, only to be overtaken in 2019 by Victoria, B.C., according to organizers.

Oakland’s latest tally recorded over 186 bird species in 2019; San Francisco’s tally typically averages 175 species.

Counts from local counts will contribute to the national Audubon database, which tracks the health of local and national bird populations.

In 2019, Audubon’s annual count mobilized more than 81,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,600 locations across the Western Hemisphere.

More information on the Oakland, Richmond and SF counts can be found at

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