Annual Christmas Bird Count at Yosemite
Next Yosemite Christmas Bird Count: Dec. 15, 2013 (details below)
Tens of thousands of volunteers across the Americas join together annually during the Christmas Bird Count. The event provides a full day to celebrate birds. Since 1932, Yosemite's participation has contributed more than 95,000 observations to the conservation event.
What a fun time we had together during the 113th Christmas Bird Count on December 16, 2012 in Yosemite! Despite potentially stormy weather, 41 hearty participants hit the trails with their binoculars and enthusiasm. We had seven groups of people scouring the count circle for birds, including one team clad in snowshoes up in the Badger Pass area, four groups covering the entirety of Yosemite Valley, including one group that also covered the Merced River Canyon; another group that covered Old El Portal and hiked up the Foresta Road; and another group that covered the area centered around Foresta. Thanks to each and every one of you who participated and who contributed to another successful bird count! If you weren't able to participate this year, there's always next year (Sunday, December 15, 2013), and there will always be more birds to see and count. This count has been going strong since 1932, for a total of 73 years!
In 2009, 48 participants identified 59 species, including a Williamson's sapsucker along the Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail; an orange-crowned warbler in East Yosemite Valley; three Cassin's finches up on Turtleback Dome; and four wren species (canyon, Bewick's, house and winter), all in El Portal except for the winter wren observed on the Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail. Other species found included the great blue heron, Northern pygmy-owl, white-headed woodpecker, and cedar waxwing.
In 2008, 32 participants identified 65 species, including a northern goshawk in the west end of Yosemite Valley, a merlin in Foresta, a northern mockingbird in El Portal, and two red-breasted x red-naped sapsuckers--in El Portal and Foresta. Nine raptors, including sharp-shinned hawks, Cooper's hawks, and peregrine falcons, were on the list too. And, more than 500 band-tailed pigeons and American robins plus almost 400 Oregon dark-eyed juncos were spotted.Some of the historic highlights from Yosemite's Christmas Bird Count include:
The next Yosemite Christmas Bird Count is Dec. 15, 2013. To attend the full-day event, bring binoculars, a field guide, lunch, plenty of warm clothes and sturdy shoes. A small fee typically exists to support the publication of count results in National Audubon Field Note, which will give the highlights of the International Christmas Bird Count. Plan to be outside all day, from around dawn to dusk. An annual compilation potluck dinner closes the day to allow participants to share Yosemite birding highlights. To participate, you must register in advance. Contact the Yosemite Christmas Bird Count Organizer, Sarah Stock, by e-mail or by phone at 209/379-1435.
Did You Know?
The Yosemite Leadership Program partners with UC Merced, to bring students to the park each summer for hands-on professional development through internships. Students work alongside scientists, educators, interpreters, business managers, and many other professionals of the NPS and park partner organizations. Some go on to become National Park Service rangers.