The Nature Writers of Texas

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Saturday, November 30, 2002


Photo by Mary Curry

Birds and Beyond
Participate in the Christmas Bird Count
Claire Curry, November 2002, Wise County Messenger, © 2003

It was cloudy, cold, and windy. Occasionally mist drizzled down. Yet, there we were, thirty-one birders, divided into smaller groups, roaming through the county, searching for as many species and individuals of birds as possible.

Before noon, my group, covering the northeastern section of a fifteen mile diameter circle (centered in Decatur), had seen over thirty species! This included bluebirds, cardinals, jays, woodpeckers, goldfinches, one warbler, two species of ducks, three species of hawks, and nine species of sparrows. Most of the time, we drove down various county roads (all known in advance to usually harbor lots of birds). Our group stopped for about an hour, though, to tramp through the grass on a National Grasslands unit in search of native sparrows. A short break for hamburgers at lunch, and we were ready to look for more birds.

Does this sound exciting? Then we need you to participate in the National Audubon Society’s 103rd annual Christmas Bird Count! Last year, which is what I have described above, the Wise County Christmas Bird Count had twenty-nine thousand individuals of one hundred fourteen species of birds. The data from Christmas Bird Count circles all over North America is used to measure bird distribution and populations. You can check out the CBC website at: http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/.

We need bird-watchers of all skill levels in the count. Going birding with others is fun, and a great way to improve your birding skills, too. In fact, you don’t even need to be a bird-watcher. You can help keep track of bird numbers and point out birds. Or, you can stay in the warmth and comfort of your home and watch your bird feeders.

If you’d like to participate in this year’s Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 14, please contact Marshall Fox at 940-627-2343. Tallgrass Prairie Audubon is also having a meeting at 7pm on December 7, at the Greenwood Masonic Lodge, where we will discuss the upcoming CBC. We hope to see you there!

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