Birds by the number

Keeping count of our flying friends

Every holiday season for more than a century, volunteer bird watchers meet to participate in Christmas Bird Counts nationwide. The information collected is used to determine the long-term health and status of bird populations across the continent. Locally, the 113th CBC took place Dec. 15 and was organized by Altacal, the local chapter of the National Audobon Society. More than 25,000 birds representing 119 species were counted by 33 volunteers within a 15-mile radius of Chico. CBC organizer Mary Muchowski provided these local totals of the 12 most prevalent species:

5,001 Northern shovelers
2,950 European starlings
2,146 Brewer’s blackbirds
1,849 American robins
801 California gulls
725 sandhill cranes
664 yellow-rumped warblers
657 lesser goldfinches
539 Western meadowlarks
533 acorn woodpeckers (pictured)
515 bushtits
472 Western bluebirds