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DON EDWARDS SF BAY NWR: Christmas Bird Count for Kids Introduces Kids to Citizen Science and the Art of Bird Watching
California-Nevada Offices , January 17, 2016
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Entering the bird species on the data sheet at LaRiviere Marsh.
Entering the bird species on the data sheet at LaRiviere Marsh. - Photo Credit: Jim Meikrantz
Sonoma Birding's Tom Rusert conducts the binocular boot camp prior to the bird count.
Sonoma Birding's Tom Rusert conducts the binocular boot camp prior to the bird count. - Photo Credit: Jim Meikrantz
Tabulating the results.
Tabulating the results. - Photo Credit: Jim Meiktrantz
Getting ready for the presentations.
Getting ready for the presentations. - Photo Credit: Carmen Minch

By Carmen Leong-Minch

Despite the early hour on a Sunday morning and the threat of rain, nine kids and their families arrived at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge to participate in its first Christmas Bird Count for Kids on January 17, 2016. In just 90 minutes, 34 species were identified and 798 birds were counted.

Since bird watching and the use of binoculars may be new to some, the morning began with a binocular boot camp where kids were taught how to find birds using their binoculars and how to focus. They were then divided into teams and assigned to specific locations on the refuge and to a nearby regional park with an experience bird watcher to guide them. After 90 minutes, everyone returned to tabulate their data sheets and report out their findings to the group.

Experienced bird watchers who came from organizations such as San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society, Sonoma Birding, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, and San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory volunteered to guide the young birders and offer assistance. Many were impressed by skills the children picked up in such a short amount of time.

“I was impressed by the level of detail of the kids were able to pick up,” said Ceal Craig, president of the San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society.

The children and their parents were enthusiastic about what they saw and were anxious to see if future bird counts will change from year to year. The results of the 2016 counts are posted on the Don Edwards Refuge website.

Carmen is the Outdoor Recreation Planner at the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex.  


Contact Info: Carmen Minch, 510-792-0222 ext. 476, carmen_leong-minch@fws.gov
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