Monday, December 14, 2009

Coming Soon - CBCs!

Or, if you are in a really early area, they are here as of today! That's right the 'longest running wildlife census', is back for its 110th running, the Christmas Bird Count.
I will be participating in my second year of Christmas Bird Counts this year. As indicated in my previous post, the CBCs have, and will probably continue to have a special place in my birding consciousness, as I am sure they do for many others for a variety of reasons. For me they represent my first exposure to group birding, and will hopefully remain as a yardstick against which to measure my experience and ability from year to year.
An update to my previous posting on the Boulder CBC: I have confirmation that I will be returning to the same count area that I was at last year, this time seeing it with a whole new group of eyes for company. I wonder what I will learn this year? I have already learned that the weather will be dramatically different from last year's count: tells me that Boulder is in for much more mild weather than last year, when we only briefly saw the sun from our location up on the ridge, and the counters in the valley below had to endure a full day of overcast skies and falling snow. That count will be this coming Sunday, I can hardly wait. My only reservation is that I will be carrying my on-call pager for work, and will have to trust to luck for an uninterrupted count. Failing that, I am only minutes from work and will just have to keep my vehicle close, so no extra carpooling for me.
In addition to the Boulder count, I have also signed up for this year's Loveland count, on New Year's Day. That count is in its second year, and should be a quite different experience again, as I believe that there are fewer participants in that one. Since it is still a ways off, held on New Year's Day, I have no idea what I will be in for but look forward to the surprise. (It says quite a bit about my level of frustration with my CU Buffaloes football program that I am abandoning all the bowl games that day, but a healthy day outdoors sounds much better, as my alma mater seems destined for a drought before its next New Year's appearance).

I was flattered to receive a call from the leader of the group with whom I had participated at last year's Denver count. He wanted to check to see if I was still planning on rejoining the count. Unfortunately, I am unable to do so as that count is on Saturday the 19th, and my on-call leash doesn't reach that far - even for a good excuse. Sadly, even were I to be able to free up time I would be unable to attend, as my friend's just-out-of-town wedding would be the next priority on my list. Even so I was impressed to be contacted by the leader. As a first year participant last year, I know I wasn't the most valuable asset to have along. But even now, a year later, the leader gave my cell a call to see if I was interested in coming back. I have been involved with many volunteer projects where the communication was not that well done, and wish that there was a way I could be in three places at once this Saturday.
So, as a good faith appeal, let me ask for another consideration from the small, but hopefully growing, audience of this bit of avian digital clutter. If you have already given blood in the past 8 weeks, and have signed up with the national organ donor registry, and still have a few hours to spare on Saturday in the Denver area please think about signing up for the:
56th Denver Christmas Bird Count
Please hit the National Audubon site to preregister, it is the count with the four letter abbreviation CODE, or contact Count Leader/Compiler: Dick Schottler (303-278-8035, birdschotuswestnet) and I am sure he will be happy to point you in the right direction.

For those of you not in the Denver area check out the site and throw in your hometown or holiday destination to the search tool. I guarantee you won't be disappointed with a few hours or a full day spent in the outdoors this holiday season!

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