Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sacramento Audubon ranks fifth in US in Great Backyard Bird Count

Workshops and field trips, plus better publicity, helped Sacramento birders place fifth nationally in number of checklists submitted in this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count.  This more than accomplishing Sacramento Audubon’s goal of ranking among the top ten cities on the13th annual GBBC.  The local newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, was engaged by the challenge to help  make Sacramento a “Top Ten City.”  They helped publicize workshops (340 attended 6 workshops) and promote the count on GBBC Saturday.  To engage the younger crowd, we gave 2 performances of the Fenner Family’s GBBC puppet show.

The count is both educational and recreational and from the SAS Education Committee’s point of view, a wonderful opportunity to introducing the larger community to birding by  showing them how much  is going on right in their own backyards.  The workshops , held in public libraries throughout Sacramento County, covered the hows and whys of  the GBBC commitment (10-15 minutes)  followed by a 45 minute presentation on Sacramento backyard birds.  Our main objective is to connect folks with nature and make them aware of the value of citizen science.  While our new membership numbers did not increase markedly, the goodwill generated by the workshops was evident in the comments of folks after the presentations. As a result, SAS Beginning Birder Field Trips for February and March filled quickly.  Benefits to the chapter also included a contact list of 178 new birders and book sales of $300.
 With lists still coming in, National Audubon has tallied 422 lists from the Sacramento area out of the 5069 submitted for California. Total numbers are not yet available, but birds of 128 species were reported on Sacramento checklists.

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