AUDUBON'S 121st
CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
Monday, December 14th - Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
It's easy to participate, even if you are a beginner, and your contributions add to the body of community science that is being used to help birds everywhere. Click here to learn more.
PARTICIPATE IN A HOLIDAY TRADITION
In 1900, Frank Chapman organized 27 friends in 25 locations to count birds on Christmas Day to protest bird-shooting contests that were occurring at the same time. Chapman’s decision to count, rather than shoot, the birds became the Christmas Bird Count, a tradition in which many people participate every year.

Christmas Bird Counts are annual, early-winter bird counts sponsored by the National Audubon Society and involve more than 45,000 people from North and South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. There are about 1,700 counts held during a two and one-half week period before and after Christmas.

Many people participate in the count as a way to get involved with their local Audubon Chapters. Beginners are welcome, and people can spend a few hours or the entire day counting birds. Each November, birders interesting in participating in the CBC can sign up and join in through the Audubon website. (Please note: Online registration is not available—please contact compilers by email using the information from the pop-ups on the map.)

Also note that the COVID-19 pandemic will affect CBC participation. Pending local restrictions, many counts will be done under the COVID-19 guidelines sent to compilers, while others will likely be cancelled. 









NATURE HAPPENINGS

*Project Feeder Watch starts and extends until April, www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw

* An average of 10% of our rainfall falls in November.

* Temperatures can be cold this month with freezing nights.

*Feeding fats helps protect birds against potentially life-threatening loss of muscle mass: get out your suet and bark butter feeders.

* Clean up fallen leaves and dead fruit as they can harbor insect eggs and fungus spores over the winter. Do leave standing grasses and perennials as cover and possible food sources for your birds.

* Feeders get busier as the month progresses.

* Waterfowl migration peaks this month.

* Open water is important if there's an early freeze. Put up heated bird baths for a winter water source.

* Northern Flicker numbers are increasing. Put out a roosting box to prevent them from pecking on your house.

* Winter patterns of behavior become notable. Birds begin to flock.

* In some areas of our region, bushtits come in large groups to suet feeders.

* The 2020 Leonid meteor shower is active from November 5th through the 30th and will peak during the early morning hours of November 16 and 17.
OVERWINTERING ANNA'S
Some years there are a number of Anna's hummingbirds that might decide to tough out the winter here in the eastern Sierra. If you are one of those fortunate to enjoy hummingbirds year 'round, your feeder will be an important part of the bird's feeding territory. A hummingbird searches far and wide and selects a feeding territory based on the available food supplies it finds.  If the feeder runs empty or freezes up, there might not be sufficient food elsewhere in their territory to enable the bird to survive. Keep it filled with fresh nectar and thawed out all winter. 

  • Keep fresh nectar on hand in the refrigerator to make it easy to keep feeders stocked. You may want to increase the ratio of water to sugar to 3:1 (rather than 4:1) to help resist freezing and increase available energy for the birds

  • You can use multiple polycarbonate feeders to make it easy to quickly change out a frozen or stale feeder: fill and take a fresh feeder out in the morning, and run yesterday's feeder through the dishwasher. 

  • Put a hook above your porch light if feasible or hang the feeder under an eave with a waterproof light hanging next to it. Make sure you can get the nectar close to a heat source so it doesn't freeze, and a light bulb makes a good heat source. 
 
  • If your feeder does freeze up, bring it in as early in the morning as possible and change it for a fresh one or thaw it out. 
 
  • Listen to the weather forecast, and if it will be freezing during the night, bring the feeders in at bedtime. Get up at first light in the morning to put the feeders back out. That way, the hummers can have their first feed with room temperature nectar to help them warm up after a long night of torpor.