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Christmas Bird Count affected by pandemic, too

Annual event curtailed in region

Sacramento Digs Gardening logo
Sacramento Digs Gardening
PUBLISHED DEC 24, 2020 1:20 P.M.

Anna's hummingbird
This Anna's hummingbird was photographed around Clear Lake
by Vicki Miller during the 117th Annual Christmas Bird Count.
(Photo courtesy

Normally at this time of year birders and other wildlife lovers would be well into the traditional Christmas Bird Count, an annual effort hosted by the Audubon Society. This year marks the 121st such count.

Counting is a group effort, with coordinators assigned to specific areas known to attract a lot of migrating birds. Each compiler is responsible for coordinating the count in a 15-mile circle, staffed by volunteers.

In an all-day effort, the volunteers count every bird they see along an established route in the designated circle.

California typically hosts 120 Christmas Bird Count locations. One of the more active ones, not surprisingly, is in the Sacramento area.

However, this year, because of the COVID-19 risk in gatherings, some of the "circles" have been canceled, including the main Sacramento circle and the ones in the Marysville and Stockton areas. Other counts are being conducted in accordance with social distancing and other safety guidelines.

Circles indicating availability include the Folsom Lake area, Lincoln, Grass Valley and Wallace-Bellota, but no dates are listed. The Sherman Island count will be New Year's Day, the Calaveras one on Jan. 2. (The latter is in need of experienced birders.) The Putah Creek circle count (near Winters) was held Dec. 20.

Anyone who would like to participate is asked to contact the circle coordinator directly via email. Pop-ups with contact information are on this map .


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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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