Information for Leaders


Saturday, December 31, 2016 

Information for Group Leaders and Individual Birding Parties

Thanks so much for taking part in the Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. We appreciate your help! 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 Day is Saturday, December 31: 12:00 am to 12:00 midnight. Count Week is December 28 through January 3.
Everyone is urged to attend the compilation dinner at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (Fleischmann Auditorium) on the evening of Count Day. Please remember that THERE IS NO POTLUCK! Pre-reserved meals are not available after Christmas Day, so if you don’t have one, 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, Jared Dawson, Liz Muraoka, and Joan Murdoch, SBCBC Coordinators

On Count Day—very important!!

Unexpected Participants

Because of our new sign-up procedure, 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! 

Countdown: Goleta Beach at 12:30 near the restaurant

If you do NOT plan to attend the noon countdown you MUST call or text Rebecca by 12:00 NOON to check in with us: 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

This year we plan to continue to utilize smartphone capabilities with afternoon reporting and updates via texts and email.  More details will follow but make sure your phones are fully charged in the afternoon when we spread out to find missing target birds.

Participant Form

You must 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. Don’t forget to complete the Party Hours/Miles section. All forms are available on the SB CBC website: bird count forms .

Species List

Please use the revised form on our website. 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     [new Dec 2016]

For sending your Species Lists and/or Participant Lists to the CBC compilers, you now have some new options, including eBird (see below). You can also do a paperless report directly (without eBird): download these forms in their word-processor (.docx) versions. They use Tables for speedy data entry. Fill in the forms and save them, attach them to an email and send it to the CBC (address given near the bottom of this page).
Don’t forget to write up any rare bird sightings as noted above.
If you have to miss the Dinner and don’t have someone to deliver your forms there, an
e-report is a good option.

Hints for filling out e-report forms:
In word-processor’s View menu, select draft/continuous/web view (names differ by product), which shows no gaps at page-end and scrolls smoothly.
Save your work frequently (you already know that!), and give your file a new name that tells us who or what site it came from.
Filling a table: type a number (or text); don’t use Enter; arrow keys move to next box.
Remember to type in your name and birding site in the spaces provided.
To help us check data entry, please count how many numeric entries you made in the Species List (including listed subspecies and ‘sp’ entries). Enter that count on the Grand Total line at the bottom of the form.
A warning regarding printing: Tables spread out the text a lot, and printing a Species List will eat up about 8 pages. Best to convert tables to text before printing, and arrange in multi-column pages (like the paper Species list :-)

eBirding your Santa Barbara CBC      [revised Dec 2016]

If you are a regular eBird user, you’ll know what a great tool this can be for data collection in the field. We want to make it simple for you to use it in lieu of the traditional forms for logging your efforts. Here are our requirements for using eBird to collect and submit your Santa Barbara CBC data:

  • Before going into the field, take a look (on at the SB CBC species list and note which species will require documentation: look for the asterisks. There are more of these than would be flagged within eBird, so please look closely.
  • Also look at the Participant Forms: National Audubon is very particular about the way we log our effort; the more you know about it ahead of time, the more information you can share with us to be accurate.
  • Be as specific as possible in your site selection when entering data to eBird—lumping sites into one list is never a good idea. Even if you simply tell us in the notes where exactly you birded and log a GPS point, that is preferable to making one list for many sites.
  • Keep a day-long Trip Summary of all your birding sites, including time and distance at each site. Submit your data using a separate Checklist for each site you visited.
  • At the end of your birding day, you will need to provide us with participant names and hours & miles data by site, as shown on the Participant Forms. See the previous section for options.
  • Here’s the key point: we need your lists as files that can be loaded into a spreadsheet. eBird Share and Email options won’t do! You must Download your Checklists from eBird to your computer or device, and send the Downloads to us. [Note: if you know how to download Checklists in .csv form, you can skip to the next bullet point.]
    Immediately after submitting your list, there is a button on the top right labeled “Download”. This will immediately send a copy of your list in the correct .csv format to your local drive or device (and thereby skipping the next paragraph).
    If you are needing to download checklists in mass or after your initial submission:  In your account (My eBird), click Manage My Checklists (in panel on right), which shows all your lists. On the line showing your CBC date & location, click on View Or Edit to display the list, then click Download (at top of panel on right). In the pop-up window, select Save File and OK.
    The list is sent to your computer (can take several seconds), and will show up in your Downloads folder with a filename that looks like  [serial number]_observations.csv , a format readable by spreadsheets and databases.
    If you have more lists to send, go back to Manage My Checklists (by clicking the All Checklists button at top right). Select and download each list you made on CBC day.
  • Now send us the file(s): Write an email to the address below. Attach your csv file(s) to the email (details depend on your email program, sorry). Wait, don’t send yet!
  • We also need you to send us all the information that a Participant Form contains. Some of these items (type of party, mode of travel, birder names) aren’t in the eBird report.
    The paperless way to send us this form is described in the Electronic Reporting section above. You can attach the filled form to your email. Or you can simply list all the required items in the text of your email.
  • Don’t forget to write up any rare bird sightings as noted above. 

For all leaders and individual birders —
As a courtesy to your compilers, we ask that you complete and submit all eBird data just as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the next day. Without your data, it’s like you did not participate—that’s the whole point of the CBC! If you are having difficulty completing this, please let one of us know so we can hold the final totals for your numbers.
Email your eBird checklists and accompanying data to Rebecca at
rfcphoebe (at) gmail (dot) com

Count Week birds (seen within +-3 days of Count Day but not on that Day) can be noted in the text of email reports, or in a separate email if seen late in that period. Thanks. We’re interested in knowing what we might have missed on Count Day.

For user support & tech support, contact —
Bill Pollock   dwpollock (at) verizon (dot ) net
tel 805 681 8661 home, 805 284 5072 mobile