End-of-year Holidays

End-of-year Holidays

Today I join thousands of other Americans in the “Christmas Bird Count.” (It’s time to change the name to something more secular).

Volunteers across the country survey their regions for what birds remain after the annual fall migration. Since Christmas Day 1900, the bird count has proceeded uninterrupted by wars or depressions.

My group is composed of four avid birders and our territory is about 20 sq. miles in area. This roughly reflects what teams across the country have. We start around 8 a.m., drive between different known birding sites, concluding around 8 hours later. This is shorter than the spring bird count, because there is much less daylight in winter.

When it’s all done amateurs and volunteers will have contributed to a data base of biomass that is becoming one of the most important of all as scientists tackle climate change.

We hope to identify 40 or slightly more bird species during the day. Africans will collapse in hysteria! A bird count done in Kenya, today, with avid volunteers who know what they’re doing will likely come up with 400+ species!

But it’s winter, here! Most of our birds have left! And believe me it takes a lot more fortitude to search for birds in below freezing weather than in Kenya’s sunny 80-degrees!

To all my loyal readers, this is the last blog until after New Years. Holiday get-togethers, celebrations and family get-togethers now dominate my end-of-the-year. It’s the reason I don’t guide trips at this time. It’s a precious time for many of us!

If something unusual happens I’ll get on my laptop, but otherwise, Happy Holidays to you all!