Saturday, I participated in the Great Salt Lake Audubon
Christmas Bird Count (CBC). A historical perspective of what these counts are about can be found at this link
. My team consisted of just 3 total birders. We originally had a much larger cast but several cancellations trimmed it down to myself, Carl Ingwell, and Sarah Nelson. The count is segmented into territories, and for the 4th year in a row, I was assigned to an area that includes the town of Bountiful, a few miles North of Salt Lake City. Bountiful is unique in that it includes Mueller Park, a montane habitat and one of the few places within the count radius to find certain species. So naturally we maximized our time there, but we also drove all around searching neighborhoods, parks and the local cemetery for whatever species we could find. Anyone interested in a comprehensive list, please contact me and I'll forward our counts for the day.
The biggest surprise was a group of Wild Turkeys at Bountiful Ridge Golf Course. We had never seen them in this area before and were shocked. We counted 28 total, many of which you can see in the below photo.
It's always interesting what you come across spending an entire day scouring an area for all signs of bird life. It is a game of slamming brakes, illegal U-turns, shouting, taunting, and a lot of coffee. On this day, we also built a couple of incredible snowmen and then took turns destroying them with full-body tackles.
In the late afternoon, after trudging through the snow in Mueller Park and finding at least a few of our montane targets (Steller's Jay, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper), we called it a day. We were cold. We were tired. But we had fun.
There is always a post-count party to meet up with other teams and share in some food and drink and discuss what was seen. The last few years it has been in a banquet room at the Tracy Aviary
. My brain, infused by both a day of relentless bird counting and a healthy amount of celebratory drink, attempted to add a number of the exotics living in the aviary to our day's list. I don't think anyone was as amused as I was. I guess talking to the birds and asking them if they want to be on our list in a loud and obnoxious voice isn't always the best way to make yourself look intelligent.
If you haven't participated in a CBC, make it a point to do so....
Labels: bird counts, CBC, upland game birds