Audubon California opens voting for Bird of the Year

A column of Vaux's Swifts descend into a chimney at the Chester Williams building located at 5th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2010.
A column of Vaux's Swifts descend into a chimney at the Chester Williams building located at 5th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2010. Julio Morales/KPCC

A birdwatching society has opened voting for California's Bird of the Year.

This is the third year for the Audubon California competition. To make it easier for the casual bird lover to vote, the group has nominated seven species as newsmakers for 2011.

One of them is the Sandhill Crane. A state conservation program for Sandhill Cranes is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.

Vaux's swifts made news for taking up residence at a downtown L.A. chimney in the middle of their migration route. Black Oystercatchers and Snowy Plovers are shorebirds, so they're getting coverage for struggling with development and beachgoers for prime habitat.

Blackbirds, Golden Eagles and condors round out the list.

You can write in a vote for any deserving species at the Audubon website, though previous winners — the Barn Owl and the Yellow-Billed Magpie — are ineligible. The contest ends Dec. 11.

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