Red Rock Canyon State Park is participating in the Audubon Society’s 116th Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Jan. 2. The annual count is the longest running citizen science survey in the world.
Since the first count in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count has provided critical data on population trends.
Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”, where they would choose sides and go afield with their gun, and whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.
Around the turn of the 20th century, observers and scientists were just beginning to become concerned about declining bird populations so ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition- a “Christmas Bird Census”- that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.
Beginner to expert birders are all welcome; please pre-register by emailing Jean Rhyne at Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov, or visit the Audubon website here.
Bring bird books if you have them, layered clothing, binoculars, shoes that can get muddy, water and snacks.
Meet at the Visitor Center on Abbot Road off state Route 14 on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 8 a.m. for registration and orientation.
One group will caravan to Last Chance Canyon (4×4 vehicle is required; those driving their personal vehicle do so at their own risk). The other group will walk the campground and the nearby Main Wash riparian area. We will then rendezvous at noon, and those that wish to continue will caravan to another birding area in the Cantil area.
For more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, visit www.ChristmasBirdCount.org.