Carpinteria Christmas Bird Count

This year’s Carpinteria Christmas Bird Count will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2018. Participation is free, and everyone — all ages, all experience levels — is welcome!

To sign up for the count, please complete the following online form:

Update: Sunday, December 16, 2018

Although we tallied 155 species at the get-together last night, a late receipt of a list from Denver and Judy Compton, who covered their neighborhood along lower Carpinteria Creek, provided a welcome surprise: a Hooded Oriole, which brings our preliminary species total to 156!

Thank you to everyone who made the count such a success. I’ll put together a proper retrospective soon and share it here. But for now, just know how happy it made me to see so many people out celebrating birds yesterday. Thank you to all of the participants who made it such a special day.

Update: Thursday, December 13, 2018

Only two days until the count! Everyone who has signed up should now have an assignment: feeder watching, participating on their own, or participating as part of an organized group. If you have not received your assignment, please let me (John Callender) know.

Schedule for count day (Saturday, December 15):

Most of you will be participating in the morning (contact your group leader if you still have questions about when and where).

At noon on Saturday we’ll have an informal get-together at:

Rudy’s Carpinteria (Restaurant)
1001 Casitas Pass Rd
Carpinteria, CA 93013

I’ll be there to eat tacos and collect your checklists from the morning’s outings. We’ll take a look at what birds we’re missing; people with extra energy are welcome to head out again in the afternoon to try to pick up some of those.

At 5:30 p.m. we’ll have our traditional get-together (again, quite informal) at:

Silver Sands Mobile Home Park Clubhouse
349 Ash Ave.
Carpinteria, CA 93013

Park outside along Ash Avenue and enter Silver Sands by the lefthand (south) driveway. The clubhouse is the first building on your left.

In the past we’ve had a potluck dinner as part of this event. This time we’re going to change things slightly: We’ll provide drinks (non-alcoholic), and encourage people who wish to bring something to bring sweet or savory finger foods. Please coordinate what you intend to bring (if anything; it’s strictly optional) with:

Linda Callender

Thank you again to all the participants. I’m looking forward to a fun day with a lot of great birds!

John Callender
Carpinteria CBC compiler
805-455-0053 (c)

Update: Thursday, December 6, 2018

I’ve created a “Google group” (like a mailing list) for sharing information about the count. You can read and subscribe to the group here: Carpinteria CBC Participants (Google group)

Update: Sunday, December 2, 2018

Less than two weeks to go! Today the territory and group assignments were emailed to all participants. If you signed up for the count and have not received your emailed territory/group assignment, please contact me (John Callender) at the email address or phone number below. Similarly, if you have concerns about your group assignment or territory, or if your availability has changed, please let me know.

Instructions for all participants:

Between now and the count I encourage you to do the following:

  • Arrangements: Get in touch with your assigned group leader and make any needed arrangements: When and where to meet, anything you need to bring, how long to expect to be in the field on count day, and so on.
  • Scouting: If you can, get out and see what birds are in your assigned territory before the big day. If you record your sightings via eBird, please share the list with the “CarpCBC” eBird user (see discussion below) so I can follow along with what you’re finding.

That’s it! Get out, watch birds, and have fun!

Instructions for group leaders and solo participants (including feeder watchers and roving “freelancers”):

  • Planning: As group leader you’re responsible for planning the day’s activities for your group: When and where to meet, how long to spend at each location, and generally how you can most effectively bird your group’s assigned territory. Please be mindful of group members’ individual abilities and levels of interest, and remember that the most important goal of our count is that everyone should have a good time.
  • Coordination: Get in touch with your group members and make any needed arrangements. You should have received contact information for all group members; if you are having trouble reaching someone let me (John Callender) know and I’ll see what I can do to help.
  • Species counts: As group leader, or as a solo participant watching a feeder or roving across territories as a “freelancer”, you’re responsible for submitting lists of the different bird species your group identifies, including the number of individuals of each species. You can do that in various ways.
    • eBird: If you’re comfortable using eBird, I encourage you to use it to keep and submit your lists. You can simply share your lists with the “CarpCBC” eBird user using eBird’s built-in list-sharing feature. This is the fastest, easiest way to submit your sighting data, and will help me identify important species we’re missing as the day progresses.
    • Paper checklists: If you prefer you can use paper-based checklists. A copy of the current Carpinteria CBC checklist is available for download below. You can scan or photograph your lists and email them to me (John Callender) using the contact info below, or you can drop them off at the noontime check-in on count day at Rudy’s Restaurant (1001 Casitas Pass Road in Carpinteria) or at the compilation meeting at the Silver Sands Mobile Home Park community room (349 Ash Ave, Carpinteria) that night at 5:30 p.m.
  • Effort documentation: Regardless of how you keep your group’s bird lists, you also will need to keep track of and submit documentation of your group’s effort (list of participants, number of “parties” you split up into, and “party-hours” and “party-miles” by foot, car, and boat). See the downloadable effort form and instructions below.
  • Rare-bird documentation: Some bird species require submission of extra documentation via a rare-bird form, which is downloadable below. The species that require that documentation are any that are marked with an asterisk* in the downloadable Carpinteria CBC checklist, as well as any species not listed on that checklist.

A note about territory overlap and lists: I encourage you to keep separate lists for each location on count day, including start and stop times, number of participants, and party miles (eBird makes it easy to keep multiple lists like this). This is preferable to submitting one big list that lumps together different locations birded at different times. In particular, it makes it easier for me to avoid double-counting the same birds when more than one group birds the same location, something that will probably happen a fair amount on count day. I’ve assigned some groups with overlapping territories, and have assigned several “freelancers” who will be roaming throughout the circle looking for rarities.

You don’t have to worry about this in the field; just count your birds and don’t worry if you run across another group or freelancer. You can each keep and submit your own separate lists. As long as you’re being fairly specific in your lists about where and when you birded it will be easy for me to identify overlaps and just use the high count for each species seen in that location when compiling our overall numbers.

Useful links and downloadable forms:

Questions? Contact John Callender,, or call 805-455-0053.