Christmas Bird Counts.
Many of my friends were in the field this weekend, doing our bit for "Citizen Science." We count birds. We count all the birds we can find in our section of a count circle. Lest that sound boring to you, I assure you it is a good time and generally we are keeping some pretty good company. Most of the best naturalists in Ohio participate in these counts because they know the long-term collection of this data is truly useful.
Sears Woods, Crawford County: Sunday's count
This legendary woods is an excellent spot to tally birds, and I was accompanied by one of Mid-Ohio's legendary birders- Gary Cowell. Nothing gets past Gary's keen eyes and ears. He has been one of my birding mentors for over eight years now, as he has led many an Audubon Bird Walk in Mohican Country. He is always a source of new bird information and with a little coaxing, will share his knowledge.
Gary is a true outdoorsman- totally attuned to nature. He studies the birds, their behaviors, habitats, and food sources. In his quiet way, he has done more to promote birding and environmentally sound practices in Richland county than anyone will ever know. He just quietly goes about doing the right thing, in his own "Gary" way.
Red-headed Woodpecker- photo from Dave Lewis.
Sears Woods is a sweet spot, a State Nature Preserve in Crawford County, and a sure fired location for these magnificent birds. We found four working the tree snags in the middle of Sears. Always a good day.
American Buffalo (Bison) or some type of near-related BEEFalo
Lest you think these birds counts are, well- for the birds- we see loads of other interesting things. One never knows what we will come upon in our our little counties. I had no idea there was a herd of Bison within 30 miles of my home.
Beautiful stream side walks, field time with friends and like minded individuals, and important data. Who knew "Citizen Science" could be so much fun? If you haven't come out for a CBC, get involved!
Call a local CBC compiler (found on the Audubon calendar) and offer to join in. They will start you out right- and pair you with an accomplished birder- so there is no reason to miss out on one of winter's best events.