Monday, December 8, 2008

Winter Birding-Christmas Bird Counts

Christmas Bird Counts are a great way to get outside with friends and family and enjoy the winter weather while contributing to citizen science. It has become an annual tradition for many a birder since Frank Chapman organized the first in 1900. There are Christmas Bird Counts scattered throughout the country that one can participate in. Indiana Audubon has good information on the counts throughout Indiana -to find out where a local count is for you, go here. I will be helping out with the Indianapolis Northeast count on Dec. 20th at Ft Harrison State Park. I know I have quite a few Ohio readers and a good place to find info on your local counts are at the OOS site.

My friend John Howard lives in Southeast Ohio in Adams County. Yesterday, he was doing some scouting for an upcoming Christmas Bird Count which will take place on December 14th. I know I will be there. (Mmmmmm, oh, yeah did I mention John and Tina always have good food? I am really there for the birds, yeah, that's the ticket!) Anyway, yesterday he had some great finds.
All photos by John Howard.

American Pipits-three rascals hanging out in his own yard! Wow!

Turkeys- a whole mess of them, 27 exactly, survived Thanksgiving dinner.

And a Ruffed Grouse in a pear tree. No, not really, but it went along with that song (that is now stuck in my head-yikes!)

You might have the usual chickadees, cardinals, etc... but many times you are pleasantly surprised. Two years ago, we observed a Bald Eagle take a Wood Duck at Holliday Park! On last year's Goose Pond Christmas Bird Count, Ross Brittain and Jess Guinn had a flock of crossbills. Don Gorney and others had a Prairie Falcon. (Of course this was AFTER I had left for the day to go to work. Bummer.) My point of all this rambling? You never know what is out there until you get out and look, so go join a Christmas Bird Count and find some amazing things!!!!

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