An Activity Thats "For The Birds"

Red-tailed Hawk
Red Tailed Hawk

This year marks the 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Since the Christmas Bird Count’s birth on Christmas Day of 1900 with 27 observers at 25 locations across Canada and the United States the Count has grown to include well over 63,000 counters at more than 2200 locations each year from above the Arctic Circle to the waters of the Drake Passage off Tierra del Fuego.  

Across North America the CBC (Christmas Bird Counts) occur on Saturdays and Sundays and have assisted us in gaining much knowledge of birds, their migratory routes, their habits and living conditions.  They do this by promoting a culture of conservation and by connecting people with nature.  As we participate and involve ourselves in this educational endeavor we ourselves become more aware of the need to share this planet generously with our feathered friends and all wildlife.  

Vesper Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow

Birding itself is amazingly satisfying.  Even as a novice it is very fulfilling to have a list of birds, divided into species and types and to systematically check off the ones indigenous to your yard, your nearby parks, your vacation spots and soon...every place you go.  My first experience was with a regular birder and almost once a minute she would stop in mid-conversation with her ear averted skyward and a quizzical look in her eye.  Then the look of accomplishment when a bird darted out of a bush or tree and she'd say "I thought that was a chickadee" or some other local bird.  

Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow

This centuries old tradition has been held for longer than I can remember, at our own Hidden Valley.  The Sunday before Christmas is the usual date and our local chapter of the Audubon Society breaks up into many organized groups and heads out to various locations  to make a fastidious count of where, when and how many of each bird species they sight.  


Our local group is usually led by Mariann and Keith, adventurous and zealous birders for years.  Each year we anxiously wait for the completion of the count to get an accurate idea of the wildlife that our park supports and is graced by.  This year 23 species were sighted at the time our park was counted.  The list was small this year.  I was surprised that the birds we see most in the part of the park where we live were not among them.  During this last week, in addition to the birds below we have seen scissor tails, mockingbirds, titmouse, grackles, killdeer, our mascot "Roadie" the roadrunner and of course, cardinals.  Other parts of the year have many other varieties as well. 

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah sparrow

Here's the list:

Red-Tailed Hawk                  Black Vulture                              Kestrel
                                              Turkey Vulture

Great Blue Heron                  Mourning Dove

Fox Sparrow                          Golden fronted Woodpecker
Song Sparrow                        Flicker
White-Throated Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Vesper                                    Red-Winged Blackbird             Chickadee
Savannah Sparrow
House Finch                           American Goldfinch

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet          Eastern Bluebird
Chickadee                              House Wren

W. Pelican                              Barred Owls
Quote from Geoff LeBaron, Nat'l Audubon Society

If you've never tried birding, feel free to come by Hidden Valley (advance phone call required: 210-623-6737) and see what you can see.  We'll point out some good spots and you can take a relaxing stroll through the park.  Binoculars are helpful but not required.  A field guide or smart phone apps are available that can be very beneficial in identifying the individual birds.  A remember, if you'd like to participate in next years Christmas Bird Count or your local Audubon Society for information of how to sign up. 

If you already love birding and have seen your life bird or an unusual bird where you live, tell us about it in the comments.

Teri welcomes you to Hidden Valley RV Park
Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with us on Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

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