Information for Leaders


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Information for Group Leaders and Individual Birders

Thanks so much for taking part in the Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. If you are in charge of an area and have not already done so, please call or e-mail the members of your party as soon as possible to set up your plans for Count Day.  Count Dayis Saturday, January 5; Count Week is January 2, 3, 4 and 6, 7, 8. (Count Week is the period three days before and three days after, in which birds not observed on Count Day can be recorded for the record—though not added to the species total for Count Day).

Everyone is urged to attend the compilation dinner at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (Fleischmann Auditorium) on the evening of Count Day. Meals must be reserved by January 1: click here to reserve. If you don’t wish to purchase a meal, please bring your own food and dinner service. Dinner begins at 6:00; countdown begins at 7:00.

Best of luck and great birding!                                                                                                  Rebecca Coulter, Liz Muraoka, Joan Murdoch, and Libby Patten                                Compilers 

On Count Day

Unexpected Participants

You might encounter unexpected participants showing up at your site. Not a problem; just include them on your participant lists and thank you for being flexible.  We don’t expect this to happen often, but sometimes people just don’t mention to us that they are joining the effort!

Midday Countdown: Goleta Beach at 12:30 at the base of the pier

Please let us know your stakeouts/targets, particularly if you will NOT attend the midday count:

  • If you have a Gmail account, use the Google Sheets document (see below) to update species sightings throughout the day.
  • If you do not have a Gmail account, please notify us about your target species by noon by calling or texting Rebecca: 805-455-7040. Please leave brief but informative messages if necessary; we will not answer the phone during the 12:30 countdown.

 Smartphone reporting notification

In the afternoon, we will use smartphone reporting for updates via texts and email. Contact Liz Muraoka to sign up for these afternoon reports via GroupMe. It will not be activated until the afternoon, to keep us all from going nuts listening to the update pings. Liz: Lizmuraoka (at) gmail (dot) com.

Live Google Sheets status document

We are using a shared Google Sheets document to keep track of species throughout the day. Here is the link; instructions below:

CASB Count Day Updates Google Sheet

  • Enter your target or stakeout sightings on the Google Sheets document. This is a LIVE document, overseen by moderators during the day. Please enter your initials in the cell next to the species name. If there is already an entry in a cell, the species has been recorded; no need to add yours. Exception: if the cell is colored pink, multiple initials may be entered. Please take extra care when entering data here to be sure you are putting your entry in the right cell.

Participant Form

Complete the participant form and turn in with your species list/s at the dinner. Participation in the CBC is free so there is no money to collect. Please be specific about your birding locations on these forms so we know exactly where you went, as well as times you were there. Don’t forget to complete the Party Hours/Miles section. All forms are available on the SB CBC website, under the Forms tab:


Species List

Please use the revised form on our website, for the 119thcount. This will make life much easier for your compiler, and be less confusing to you at the dinner. If you cannot turn in your species list/s at the dinner, please have someone do this for you. We will be collecting all species lists at the dinner if possible. We can’t compile the Count until all of the forms are in, so please follow through with this!

Rare Birds

Sightings of birds marked with an asterisk in the Species List require documentation, as do any other birds reported in the Additional Species section of that list, if they are not usually found here in winter. See the Rare Bird Documentation Form (a National Audubon publication) on our website. A photo is always helpful, and may reduce the need for extensive description of the bird. Other media (sound recording, video) are also helpful. Without sufficient notes on your observation, we end up having to track you down for further details—be as specific as you can. We know it takes time to gather and write up rare bird data, so you don’t have to present it with your other forms at the dinner.


Electronic Reporting

For sending your Species Lists and/or Participant Lists to the CBC compilers, you have some electronic options.

  1. Paperless report: download this form into your word-processor (.docx) versions. It uses a table format for speedy data entry. Fill in the form and save it, attach to an email and send it to the CBC (rfcphoebe AT gmail DOT com). Don’t forget to write up any rare bird sightings as noted above.
  1. We welcome eBird species lists in place of the old paper lists. But ‘Sharing’ or emailing an eBird file isn’t enough for the CBC record-keeping. Here’s how to send us your list in a format that our computers can read: a CSV file. Here are instructions:
    • Download your eBird checklist to yourself.
      • From your My eBird page (on the main website, not the mobile app), click Manage My Checklists. Find your CBC list; click on View Or Edit.
      • Click Download (at top right of panel).
      • A pop-up window appears; select Save File then OK. The list is sent to your computer (can take several seconds), and you’ll find it in your Downloads folder with a filename like [checklist number]_observations.csv. This file is readable by spreadsheets and databases.
      • If you have more CBC lists to send, click ‘All Checklists’ and select and download each list. If sending multiples, please rename files with locations.
    • Send the file(s):
      • Attach your .csv files to an email to rfcphoebe (at) gmail (dot) com.
      • Attach rare bird documentation if needed.
      • Attach Participant Data: this is critical, since eBird and Audubon ask for different effort data. By participating in this CBC, you agree to give us the data we need to give Audubon! Download a Participant form, fill it in, save, and send it to us, as described in the Info for Leaders tab on the website. Or you can skip the form and just list all the required items in the text of your email.

For all leaders and individual birders using eBird:

As a courtesy to your compilers, we ask that you complete and submit all eBird data no later than noon the following day, including your effort and rarity data.

Email your eBird checklists and accompanying effort and rarity data to Rebecca Coulter:

Rfcphoebe (at) gmail (dot) com.


Before Count day, you can help us by scouting your neighborhood or anywhere else within the Count Circle for the following birds:

Blue-winged Teal

Greater Scaup

Mountain Quail

Cattle Egret

Virginia Rail

Wilson’s Snipe

Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull

Greater Roadrunner

Any owls (other than Great Horned or Barn)

White-throated Swift

Hummingbirds (except Anna’s & Allen’s)

Sapsuckers (except Red-breasted)

Horned Lark

Any swallows

Brown Creeper

Rock or Pacific wrens

Common Raven


Warblers: Nashville, Black-throated Gray, Black-and-White, Yellow, Hermit, Wilson’s

Any tanagers

Any grosbeaks

Lark Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Tricolored Blackbird

Any orioles

Lawrence’s Goldfinch

If you see any of the above, please contact us:

Libby Patten: