History of the Christmas Bird Count

If you’ve ever participated in the Christmas Bird Count, you’ve probably wondered how this project came to be. Check out this account.

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Aquatic life

Mississippi River side channel at La Crosse, Wisconsin

I often think about how to connect people to the underwater ecosystems and its many micro habitats. It’s far more intuitive for us to identify with the terrestrial world. We stride across the land, we watch birds streak across the sky, and we enjoy the rabbits frisking across our yards. When I studied Nighthawks, I often thought about how to engender interest in a bird that becomes active at sunset, and I marveled at the life that came alive at night on my drives home from field work. Now I think about the life aquatic and how people care about it, especially as the primary form of engagement, angling, dwindles in our country as an activity. This writer has elegantly described this phenomenon.

#Field Work Fail

Biology is not always glamorous or dignified. Check out this Twitter feed for a collection of our tales of woe. Me? Early on when I was practicing my bird ID skills, I and another birder once stopped our car to view a flock of geese in a field. We thought we had found a rare migrant species of arctic waterfowl (since we couldn’t identify them). As we studied them with our binoculars, our view was suddenly blocked by a farmer who casually leaned into my car window to ask us why we were staring at his domesticated (and to be fair, exotic) geese.

Urban wildlife

Last week, I talked about leaving room for wildlife through our gardening practices. This week, here’s a link to a story about the attraction wildlife has to urban spaces, and if they’re predators, this might be uncomfortable for us. For Nighthawks and urban rooftops, this might be a necessity, as their other habitats are eliminated.