CSUMB’s Return of the Natives’ annual event Jan. 19

White pelicanVolunteers will be out at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, looking for hawks, geese, ducks, wrens and a variety of other species at the Watershed Institute’s eighth annual winter bird count at Upper Carr Lake in Salinas. Everyone is welcome to help during the three-hour count.

The lake, on East Laurel Drive between Constitution Boulevard and Sanborn Road, is a resting stop for migratory birds. In 2012, volunteers from CSU Monterey Bay’s Return of the Natives project counted approximately 70 species, including American coots, yellow-rumped warblers, a few egrets and several varieties of hawks.

Participants will be provided with a data sheet on the birds of Monterey County, published by the Monterey Peninsula Audubon Society, and a pair of binoculars.

After the bird count, volunteers are invited to help clean up the lake and do some planting from 10 a.m. to noon. Tools, water and snacks will be provided.

“We are happy to see that this growing environment fosters an accommodating habitat for birds – which emphasizes the purpose of the second half of the morning – to keep Upper Carr Lake clean and healthy to keep the birds coming back,” said Amanda Magallanes, volunteer coordinator with Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project.

The local bird survey is one of 2,100 similar counts over the last month. As many as 55,000 National Audubon Society volunteers from Guam to Labrador and from Alaska to Chile slog through the woods, find their way up mountains or look out their kitchen windows for the squawking, quacking and tweeting flocks.

Return of the Natives will submit the information it gathers to California eBird, the Audubon Society’s online database.

For more information, click here or call 582-3686.

Photo: Detail of a white pelican