Bird watchers Saturday can take part in the huge annual scientific research project that is the Christmas Bird Count at San Clemente's Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy.
Tens of thousands of bird watchers, biologists, photographers and others throughout the western hemisphere join in the Audubon Society's survey, which runs from Dec. 14 through Jan. 10, according to the Audubon website.
The data collected by citizen scientists during the count are vital to research projects. The Christmas Bird Count, now in its 113th year, has "helped scientists and policy-makers to both identify threats to birds and habitat, and promote broad awareness of the need to address them," according to the Audubon site, which links to dozens of research papers based on the data.
More than 80 different bird species have been identified over the years at the O'Neill Conservancy, according to the reserve's website.
The count starts at 7 a.m. Saturday. Participants are advised to bring binoculars and field guides. As of Thursday, there were 11 spaces left for the free event. RSVP to the Conservancy here.