To many people, conservation issues are best appreciated for their local significance. Changes in the abundance of birds can provide such meaning. Yolo Audubon Society’s Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count was begun in 1971 and is one of California’s longest-running CBCs. As we approach 50 consecutive years of solid data collection, Steve Hampton (our CBC compiler for many of those years) has been able to identify trends for several species from the results and to relate them to conservation issues.
The 15-mile diameter count circle is centered southwest of Winters, California. It is divided into 10 areas and spans parts of Yolo, Solano, and Napa Counties. View the Putah Creek CBC areas in Google Earth by downloading the .kmz file. You may also view the Putah Creek CBC areas on Google Maps by clicking on the image below.
Putah Creek CBC Area Leaders
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
|Organizer and Compiler||Steve Hampton|
Phone: (916) 956-0949
|Area 1: Lake Berryessa, Thompson Canyon, & Quail Ridge||Area Leader:|
|Area 2: Bray Canyon||Area Leader:|
|Area 3: North Side |
|Area 4: Winters to Monticello Dam||Area Leader:|
|Area 5: East Side |
(Putah Creek & Hwy 505)
|Area 6: English Hills North||Area Leader:|
|Area 7: English Hills South||Area Leader:|
|Area 8: Mt. Vaca |
(Mix & Gates Canyons)
|Area 9: Solano Park||Area Leader:|
|Area 10: Wragg & Cold Canyon||Area Leader:|
A bird ID workshop specifically addressing species likely to be found on the count is held the first Wednesday in December. Details will be posted to our Event Calendar closer to the date.
A Post-Count Potluck will be held in the evening after the count. Location and details will be announced closer to the event.
2018 Putah Creek CBC Summary
By Steve Hampton
The 48th Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count was held on December 16, 2018. It began under the threatening skies of an incoming front with a morning low of 47. A light south breeze picked up and scattered rain arrived by noon, which became steady by 2pm. The high temperature was 55. Everyone made the most of the morning, however, and found a respectable 140 species.
The count was conducted by 79 participants, close to normal. The total of 157.3 party hours was slightly depressed, with many teams hurrying to finish as the rain came in. We traveled 77 miles on foot, 230 miles by car, 4 miles by bike, and 3.5 miles by boat. The early hours were marked by 12.5 hours of owling, which produced 70 Great-horned Owls, the second highest in count history.
There were no new species found on the count.
Record high counts were set for nine species. These were: Cackling Goose (28), Bufflehead (1,769), Barrow’s Goldeneye (21), Cattle Egret (12), Peregrine Falcon (7), Say’s Phoebe (64), White-breasted Nuthatch (186), Western Bluebird (738), and Cedar Waxwing (912).
Three more equaled previous high counts: Sora (10), Greater Roadrunner (1), and Clay-colored Sparrow (1). The latter two were two of the more noteworthy birds for the count.
The only all-time low record was for Loggerhead Shrike (13), reflecting the continued orchardification of the count circle. Yellow-billed Magpie (186) finished with its second lowest total in count history. The lower count comes from 1974 when party hours were much less.
Thanks to all the area leaders, potluck organizers, and others who helped make this a successful CBC.