Teams of bird watchers from dawn to dusk peered through binoculars to count birds in 17 different San Francisco locations including a boat that spanned the bay, according to Murphy.
Sponsored in part by the Presidio Trust, the Christmas count coincided with more than 2,000 bird compilations this month taken throughout North and South America and in some Pacific islands, he said.
"Birds are a lot more accessible in winter," Murphy said, making the holiday season an ideal time to catalog both native and far-flung winged creatures.
During last year's holiday event, observers in San Francisco counted 177 different bird species and more than 57,000 individual birds, ranging from pigeons to more exotic species such as the red phalarope, the Tennessee warbler or the black-legged kittiwake.
But participants last year also noticed a startling lack of other previously native bird species such California Quail and different types of diving ducks.
Murphy said San Francisco's bird populations appear to dwindle due to air and water pollution and because of rising numbers of feral cats and off-leash dogs that prey on various birds.
This story contains 252 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.