Counting Yosemite Birds and People

Hi guys. Thanks for the loyal readership. I have to admit the blog readership has gone down over the winter. Makes sense as people turn to winter sports. I stopped skiing 12 years ago after I did a face plant on my bindings and blew out my left eye socket. No kidding. I have a titanium plate with 3 screws to hold up my eye. Dang I hate when that happens.

The lack of snow has put the kibosh on Sierra shussing for the holidays. Don’t worry about the snowpack – a couple giant storms will bring it back up. As long as it’s not like last winter when the cables did not get up until June 22. Crikey!

Since 1932 the park has conducted a bird count at Christmas time. This year, 42 participants counted and identified 2,584 birds of 70 species across 6 zones in Yosemite. The park reported that number included 2 Bald Eagles – 1 observed flying in the Merced River Canyon (below the Rostrum) and 1 at Mirror Lake; Northern Saw-whet Owl in East Yosemite Valley; 125 White-throated Swifts in the Merced River Canyon; Williamson’s Sapsucker on the way down from the Tioga Road; 5 Pileated Woodpeckers in the west end of Yosemite Valley alone; Northern Goshawk in West Yosemite Valley; California Thrasher (Foresta Road above El Portal) and 2 Savannah Sparrows (adjacent to the Community Hall) in El Portal; and 3 Lincoln’s Sparrows in Foresta. Whew – don’t look up!

Year to date through November, Yosemite clicked off 3,965,000 people through the turnstiles. Decembers usually average 100,000 so it looks like the 2nd year in a row over 4 million.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Who’ll be the next in line? Who’ll be the next in line for heartache? Who’ll make the same mistakes I made over you? Who’ll be the next in line? Who’ll be the next in line? For you?” – The Kinks

*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –
One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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5 Responses to Counting Yosemite Birds and People

  1. Maureen L says:

    the Park has conducted a bird count ???

    credit where credit is due — I’ll bet you “dollars to doughnuts” that this is one of the over 2,000 Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts that take place this year from about Dec 15 to Jan 5.

    It began at Christmas 1900, as an alternative for teams to count how many birds and mammals they could slaughter (oops, I mean hunt) in a day. How many species can your group get and verify identification of, rather than pile up.

    It didn’t start that way, but it’s turned into a wonderful bit of “citizen science” as a source of data for monitoring bird populations.

    links here

    and here

    (I went out for the Oakland Christmas Count last Sunday, and local tradition was broken–it didn’t rain furiously.)

    • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:

      I like Chocolate topped…. the park had 8 teams counting, including one team along the Glacier Point Road and another team hiking down from the Tamarack Flat Road (to the Big Oak Flat Road above Foresta, and another team covering the John Muir and Mist Trails up to Nevada Fall. They didn’t mention the Audobon Society. Maybe same name inspired by them. This is only the 2nd year somebody saw a Bald Eagle.

      • Maureen L says:

        yes, Yosemite Area Audubon Society.

        bald eagles are cool, as are Yosemite’s owls.

        CBCs usually have 15 mile radius circles assigned for counting on a single day; Yosemite Area Audubon has a map with circles for the park, for Oakhurst, for Groveland, and for Merced.

        • Maureen L says:

          You’re right, of course.

          The park’s website really doesn’t say that the Yosemite Count is part of the national and international effort that CBC is…they just say your donation goes to Audubon Field Notes and have a link to National Audubon website if you can’t make it to the part.

          Highlights of past counts here; 2011 results not up yet.

          • Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch says:


            You are good. We gotta meet for lunch …. halfway between San Jose and Berkeley? Next week??

            Mr H. Dome

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