Sunday, February 19, 2017


   Most of you know that I'm a bird person and lead groups of bird watchers.

   Most of you know that I'm not very organized and describe myself as random chaotic. I get many things done. I just keep at it.

    Well I had to learn something new this week.

    I counted the species of birds my bird group saw from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15 , 2016. I was surprised that they had found 45 species. I was impressed.

   So the next innocent thing I thought was that I should report this to our newsletter. This is where things went off the rails.

   I wrote out all the bird names and submitted them to the writer of the newsletter. Now I've known the newsletter writer for a long long time. She's good. She's damn good. She's written six books and I know that it's hard work. We are fortunate to have her write our newsletter.

  Our awesome newsletter writer asked me if I could organize my bird list according to the AOU. Could I use capitals and dashes where required? Now this is asking a lot of somebody who is well ,sloppy. Besides , I'd never heard of AOU. I had a suspicion of what it was . I didn't want to display my ignorance and ask newsletter writer. 

   So I hit the Internet and found out AOU means American Organization of Ornithologists. Cool! Now what are they telling me. The ornithologists have a system of writing bird names that they have agreed to and it's very strict. I had given my list of birds to the newsletter in the order we saw them.

    To reorganize a list is tough. To reorganize to a system you don't know is a challenge. First, I used an old list. Then I found an up to date list . I finally got my list done and sent it off. Well wouldn't you know. In a list, the bird name does not start with a capital unless it's proper noun like "American"!

   What I had was a pattern to follow and none of the other rules.

   Well, I learned how to do a bird list properly. I'll know better next time.

   Since it's Canada's 150th birthday this year, we will try to find 150 species of birds. There are about 260- 170 species in this area so we should be able to get 150 species for Canada's birthday.

     cackling geese...not Canada geese.  Cackling geese look exactly like Canada geese but they are only about 1/4 the weight.