They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but for the Altacal Audubon Society, every bird counts.
In a 15 mile diameter around the Oroville area there are approximately 120 species of birds and the members of the Altacal Audubon try to count each and every one of them. It is called the Christmas Bird Count. Christmas bird counts are done during the three week period around Christmas and it is done all over the United States.
Volunteer Mary Mchowski says, "It's been going since 1900, although the Chico count started in 1955... not sure when the Oroville one started."
The point of the bird count is to get a handle on the trends of the wintering birds over the years. They count the same 15 mile diameter area year after year so they can tell which birds population is increasing or decreasing, as well as what species are coming in.
Muchoski saids, "We count all birds that we see, whether they are native to this area or not."
A group of around 20 people gather the data, which gets entered into the national Audubon Society database. Locally they have a meeting to discuss their findings.
"Then at the end, we are always at the look out for special birds," said Alacal Audobon member Skip Augur.
Muchokski has been counting birds for 28 years, and for her, and for the group, it never gets old. "Its important to me to do this because I love watching birds... and I might as well be contributing to science," said Muchowski.
Augur continued, "I love birds and I love birding and I love the comraderie of the group that birds."
Altacal Audubon is always accepting newcomers. If you want to join, go to their website at altacal.org.