The 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place on Friday, Dec. 27, in bird-rich Sonoma and Petaluma watersheds from dawn to dusk.
This is the ninth year for the Sonoma Valley bird census established here in 2004 by Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie. From Dec. 14 through Jan. 5, tens of thousands of volunteers throughout America take part in a one-day birding adventure that has become an annual tradition since 1900.
Today this citizen science event, geared to all birding levels, is the largest of its kind in the Americas.
In 1886, Frank Chapman, while walking down 14th Street in New York City, counted 542 hats decorated with 40 different species of grebes, shorebirds, warblers and orioles. It was this experience and others that triggered Theodore Roosevelt, a friend of Chapman, to establish Florida’s Pelican Island and later 53 other such refuges during his presidency. This was the foundation for Americas great National Wildlife Refuge System, like San Pablo Bay in Sonoma.
In 1900, Chapman went on to suggest that real bird lovers might want to go out and count birds instead of just shooting them over the holiday and thus the Christmas Bird Count grew out of that modest proposal.