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Photo by Tom Grey

Christmas Bird Count

Each December we participate in several Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) sponsored by the National Audubon Society. Organizations use data collected in this long-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action. Read about how the data are used and about the histories of our counts.


In the SCVAS count, each of our four predefined count circles are divided into sectors by the count leader and teams are assigned to count birds in each sector. Counters with less experience are teamed with those more experienced. Even if beginning birders can't identify every bird, they provide important "extra eyes" in finding birds. A "countdown" dinner (donations to cover the food are gladly accepted!) is held on the evening of the count, where groups share their results and tell tales of the day.


Join us for another year of adventure in this fun Audubon tradition. Contact the compiler of the region you are interested in (descriptions below) and help us document the birds of our county. Participation is free and all are encouraged to join!


2017 Christmas Bird Count Regions


Yellow-rumped Warbler by Mike Azevedo

San Jose - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Compiled and coordinated by Mike Azevedo -
Birders of all experience levels are welcome and needed. Bird identification skills are an asset but spotters (who just look for birds in the sky, trees, and bushes) and recorders (who tally the number of birds of each species) are also valuable! Some count all day, while others only take part for a few hours. The day is followed by the optional Countdown Dinner for those who are up to hearing stories of rare sightings from theirs and other groups. It is a great experience! If you are interested in participating, please contact Mike Azevedo.


For Party Leaders: San Jose CBC forms are available below for your convenience. Please download or contact Kelly Alfrey at if you need forms printed and mailed to you. 


Female Great-tailed Grackle, 2016 CBC
by Bill Bousman

Palo Alto - Monday, December 18, 2017
Compiled and coordinated by Al Eisner -
This annual census covers a radius from the Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains, with four regions in each of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. We welcome eager birders at any level of experience. If you want to participate in the same region where you have counted previously, please contact your region coordinator soon. Note that Chris O’Connell has taken over from Bob Power as coordinator for region 3 (San Mateo County lowlands west of Hwy 101); if you do not know how to reach him, Al can put you in touch. If you are new to this count or would like to explore a different region than before, please contact Al. In order to find you a good spot, we need to hear from you at least two weeks before the count (the sooner the better).

For Party Leaders: Download all the Palo Alto CBC forms and print with a good-quality printer or, if you can't print, contact Kelly Alfrey at to have the forms mailed to you. The Census Checklist should be printed single-sided and stapled; please clip (rather than staple) together the full set of forms. Begin by carefully reading Instructions to Party Leaders; contact Al Eisner if you have questions.


Wood Duck by Beth Hamel

Calero-Morgan Hill - Saturday, December 30, 2017
Compiled and coordinated by Beth Hamel -
This count circle covers city parks, county parks, creeks, and reservoirs in mid-south Santa Clara County and the Almaden area. If you are interested in participating, please contact Beth Hamel.


For Party Leaders: Calero-Morgan Hill CBC forms are available below for your convenience. Please download or contact Kelly Alfrey at if you need forms printed and mailed to you. 



California Quail by Bob Power

Mount Hamilton - Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Compiled and coordinated by Bob Hirt - (408) 821-2732 (cell)
We hope to have a great count again through the Mount Hamilton and San Antonio Valley area. Count leaders are especially needed. Contact Bob Hirt as soon as possible to participate.