Thursday, December 20, 2012

Birds and a Birder

     I have been a birder for most of my life. I have done the Christmas bird count for about 35 out of the last 43 years. I've also done many May species count quite often.

    Last Sunday was our bird count. I got 12 species and about 150 birds. They also had a potluck supper in the evening.
We did have a rich potluck supper.

We also had a contest with prizes.

     What I was thinking about as I counted were the changes that have taken place in the area I count in. The area is a deep heavily wooded ravine with some open spots. It ranges in width from 1 km (5/8 mi) t0 .5 km (5/16 mi). When I first went through this area it was extremely quiet and secluded. The city has grown from 25000 at that time to 100000 today. There are still very few people in the ravine but traffic noise has increased about 100 times.

     I find my birds first by listening so with all the traffic noise it's hard to hear birds.  Next I use motion. Since many of the  spruce are 25 M (80 ft. ) high it's hard to see in the tops of the trees. I'm sure that the other day there were kinglets and crossbills in the tree tops but I couldn't catch sight of them. I'm sure that there are black backed woodpeckers in the area because I see evidence of sawdust at the bottom of the trees which indicates black backs have been feeding.The overall number of birds has been decreasing. I still get a similar number of species each year.

     Then I suddenly thought , "What about the counter? Has the counter changed?" Then I had to admit that my hearing is about half what it was when I first counted in the area. Then I had to admit that my eyesight is maybe only 60% of what it was.

     So if I put all these things together I would suggest that they get another bird counter! However, I like birding and if I didn't count this area it wouldn't get counted. Besides that it keeps me young!