RICHMOND (CBS SF) — From dawn to dusk, teams of birders will fan out across Richmond on Sunday for the final day of the Golden Gate Audubon Society’s annual Christmas bird count.

This is the first year the annual tally has added Richmond to its count; historically the event has focused solely on Oakland and San Francisco.

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The count will cover all of Richmond, including three important birding areas: Brooks Island, North Richmond Shoreline and the Eastshore wetlands like the Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline.

The new count “will help shine a light on a community whose abundant birdlife has long been overlooked,” according to a release from the Golden Gate Audubon Society.

The annual bird count was on hiatus last year due to the pandemic.

During the event, participants will comb the city to count as many birds as possible in a single day. The annual count focused on Oakland on Dec. 19, followed by San Francisco on Dec. 28.

Each count aims to identify and record every individual bird encountered within a defined 15-mile-diameter circle — about 177 square miles. The day’s results will be submitted by the various teams in the evening and final results will be available later in the year.

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In recent years, the Oakland count has had more participants than any other such event in the world, only to be outdone in 2019 by Victoria, British Columbia, according to organizers.

Tallies from the local counts will contribute to the National Audubon database, which tracks the health of local and nationwide bird populations.

In 2019, the Audubon Society’s annual count mobilized over 81,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,600 locations across the Western Hemisphere.

The Christmas Bird Count had its start in 1900, when conservationist Frank Chapman proposed it as a more humane alternative to the tradition of a Christmas bird hunt.

More information on the Oakland, Richmond and SF counts is available at https://goldengateaudubon.org/birding-resources/christmas-bird-counts/.

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