On one of the coldest mornings so far this winter, 13 young birders, parents, and volunteers gathered for our final field trip of 2015. Young birders had the opportunity to assist with the Red Rock Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The CBC is an annual event during which volunteers count all the birds they observe in a 15-mile-diameter circle in a particular area. CBC’s are conducted across the world each year by nearly 100,000 volunteers, and the information collected contributes to the knowledge of bird populations. After a brief explanation of the CBC program, the young birders were anxious to do some birding and contribute to bird conservation!
Group photo overlooking Lake Red Rock. Not pictured is Walt Wagner-Hecht.
Young birders were grouped with volunteer leaders and each group covered a different area of the count circle. As the air warmed, the birds became more active making the birding a bit more exciting. Young birders found many exciting birds including Rough-legged Hawk, Eastern Screech-Owl, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Harris's Sparrow, and some young birders even saw life birds such as Red-shouldered Hawk. What an exciting morning!
At noon, we met at the Red Rock Visitor’s Center to have lunch and compile our species list. After sharing some stories from the morning, we tallied a list of 66 species, which is about an average number of species for the Red Rock CBC. We finished the morning by snapping a group photo overlooking the lake. We were so excited to count birds that this was the only photo we took all morning!
Many thanks to Denny Thompson, Kevin Murphy, Steve Dinsmore, and Bill Scheible for helping with this fun and valuable experience for the young birders. We are also grateful to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Red Rock for opening the Visitor’s Center so we could gather for lunch and a mid-day compilation.