Josiah makes a lot of good points in his SF Birds post about the CBC
(I was sorry to be really down with a cold and the smoke when he gave the Nov GGAS Speaker Series talk about censusing,
and so decided not to try to make it over to SF.)
I like to gather my entire team for my Oakland area briefly at a central location
as we start, to increase people's connections with the CBC, to exchange mobile phone numbers, etc.
and so that everyone knows where they are going and where others are going.
It is true that a CBC is a "real census" (to quote the National Audubon site),
and not a field trip, but it is a group activity, and I think there is a lot of payoff in gathering briefly at 7 am,
again for lunch, and at dusk. Lunch check-in is a really good time for uncertain IDs and questions,
and any revision of coverage plans that we need to make.
I pair newer people, or people who haven't birded in the count area much,
with more experienced birders, since they can serve as careful recorders.
I don't like sending anyone out solo, even pretty good birders.
But then, I admit that in Oakland we are blessed with a Sunday,
and with a good number of participants. (We have at least 30 areas,
almost double SFs, but I typically get enough people to have around 4 teams
of 2-3 people each.)