By Adam Madison
Triplicate Staff Writer
This summer, 423 bird species were recorded in Del Norte County. The incredible avian diversity of the area has hatched a flock of birding opportunities for tourists and locals.
The California Redwoods Birding Trail and guide, created in 2005, provides directions and information on some of the best areas to view rare Del Norte birds and wildlife.
"Economically, birding in general is a $7 billion a year industry ... in the United States," said Chris Howard, president of the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce .
"It's a direct way to bring dollars into the community," Reweti Wiki, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce and Action Del Norte said.
Wiki said promoting protected resources and wildlife areas is a good way to bring tourists to the county.
"It's a resource that's relatively easy to capitalize on," he said. "If we're looking in to promoting Del Norte County, this is a very easy way to do it."
Traditionally, birders have been an older crowd, according to Wiki.
"Now they've become progressively younger," he said.
He added that most of the birding crowd that comes to Del Norte are "middle to upper-middle class folks."
Wiki said that the birding crowd spends at local hotels and restaurants while using the guide to plan birding trips.
"It's very much a local community effort," he said.
Howard said Crescent City's central location between diverse habitats make it a great place for the bird-watching crowd to start.
He said that each area in the guide is located within 30 minutes of Crescent City.
"This is something that needs to be touted," he said.
Sue Calla, events coordinator for the Lake Earl Wildlife Headquarters said bird-watchers come to the county "because of our absolutely incredible diversity of habitat here."
"We have all of these amazing and protected habitats," she said.
Rick Hiser, North Coast Redwood Interpretive Association president said that birding "has a strong economic component, enticing people to stay and explore more of the county."
Calla said that birding is important because "it is the fastest growing outdoor recreation in the nation."
"We discovered this during the Aleutian Goose Festival," Calla said.
She noted that during the end of summer, business slows down in the county, but that isn't so for birding.
"It enhances the seasons that tourists can come to stay throughout the season," Calla said, noting that spring and fall are excellent birding seasons.
With help and contributions from numerous local businesses, a California Redwoods Birding Trail guide was created, giving detailed directions to 43 ideal bird-watching sites in the county.
Alan Barron's book, "A Birdfinding Guide to Del Norte County, California," provided the information used in the guide.
"It taps into the tourism area, and provides an organized route to viewing (birding-sites)," Barron, a 25-year Del Norte resident said about the guide. "I just want to stress the incredible diversity of the area."
The guide also includes information on lodging, food, gas, accessibility for each site and a detailed map.
All directions in the map begin at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 101 and Front Street.
Among the numerous businesses and organizations involved were Crescent City Chamber of Commerce, Tolowa Dunes Stewards, the Lake Earl branch of the Redwood Region Audubon Society, the City of Crescent City, Alexandre Dairy and Trees of Mystery.
For information on birding in the area contact Sue Calla at 465-6191.
What: Join Audubon Board
members and other local
top-birders on a carpool
When: 8:30-11:30 a.m. on
Where: Meet at Lake Earl
Wildlife Area Headquarters
at 2591 Old Mill Road in