DOINews: NPS-Point Reyes National Seashore: Fourth Annual Kids Christmas Bird Count Held

Last edited 09/05/2019

Group of kids preparing to count birds.
Young birders gather for a group photo at Point Reyes National Seashore. Photo by NPS.

Every year for over a century, tens of thousands of volunteers have taken part in the National Audubon Society's Annual Christmas Bird Count, the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.

This rigorous event often does not include young children, so in an effort to train future generations in this countrywide endeavor, the Point Reyes National Seashore Association, working in collaboration with the National Park Service and Sonoma Birding, held a half-day event for kids on Jan. 11 titled the Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids).

This year, more than 120 participants joined in the event, together counting 68 bird species and more than 765 individual birds in various habitats throughout the park. Eight of these species were new to the CBC4Kids bird checklist, including the red-throated loon, the merlin, and the purple finch. After the presentations, the families were treated to an educational visit by Sonoma Bird Rescue, which introduced them to a red-tailed hawk and an American kestrel.

The park offers a perfect outdoor classroom to host this event, as it boasts some of the highest bird diversity and numbers of any NPS area, with sightings of nearly 490 species (more than 52 percent of all North American bird species).

CBC4Kids was spearheaded in 2007 by Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie of Sonoma Birding, who have expanded this program into a North American event that includes events held in Canada. The CBC4Kids was first introduced to the National Park Service in 2011 at Point Reyes National Seashore.

The event brings together all the elements to introduce the next generation of stewards to the importance of birds in the ecosystem, the tradition of annual bird counts, and the fun of getting families outside to exercise and engage with the natural world.

The event supports several national initiatives, including America's Great Outdoors, Let's Move Outside, and Healthy Parks and Healthy People: Bay Area.

By: John A. Dell'Osso, NPS

Jan 23, 2014

This story appears in the Jan. 23, 2014, edition of InsideNPS.

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