Sunday, December 20, 2009

Conservation and CBCs

It was a soft falling snow that covered our county yesterday, and it only enhanced the scenery for our local Christmas Bird Count. CBCs are an annual assessment of birds and their population trends, and those numbers are certainly impacted by human population trends as well.

A sepia colored world.

Think like a bird and find open water in the morning; birds are attracted to water. Just like the rest of us, they gotta drink. On the far north edge of town, this babbling creek was a welcome sight: soothing to both eyes and ears. I stayed to commune with the birds.

Most of my Mansfield CBC route is urban, and becoming more so. The Mansfield Reformatory (home to 12,000 crows and 500 Canada geese), trashed out trailers, run down homes- sometimes it felt like the "Oxycontin Heights" tour.

Woodlots are becoming farther and fewer between in this quadrant. And where construction has not wiped them out, signs indicate it is on the way. Birds in decline? People are making impacts.

Another new gas staion, another housing development- and yet within a mile- houses and stations are already abandoned. Maybe we need to re-think the impact we humans are making?

Two places were highlights on my urban and industrial bird tour, the OSU Campus and a Sportman's Club. The OSU campus has a natural landscape and should be emulated by homeowners. I'll feature some photos in an upcoming blog.

And hurray for the hunters! What can I say? The best piece of habitat I saw all day is a huge hunt club, conserving vast acres of woods, grassland and wetland. Ok, Bambi and the pheasants are living on the edge here, but the benefits to other wildlife was obvious. The raptor count soared!

Birders and hunters- we all basically want the same things. Clean water, natural habitats and healthy animals. Let's do a better job of all just getting along!

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