results from Santa Cruz Island CBC

Jessie Altstatt


the Santa Cruz Island Christmas Bird Count was held on January 4, with a small group of 15 dedicated birders. This was the 13th official count for the island. The island had received very little rain in 2021, and it really shows, with even the manzanitas turning brown. Not surprisingly, overall numbers and diversity of land birds seems down from previous years.  We found a total of 67 species and 2,922 individual birds on count day, with 7 additional species seen during count week. Some big misses included barn and saw-whet owls.

The big surprise occurred during the pelagic portion, and this is the perfect place to extend our thanks to Island Packers and Captain Joel Barrett for leading this portion of the count. A Red-Footed Booby was seen at close range (in the Prisoners Harbor area!) and Joel documented the bird with fantastic photos. The folks aboard the Island Explorer all got great looks.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Jessica Altstatt