BY11: Christmas Count December 31, 2012Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.
We arrived at Tim’s mom’s on Christmas Eve, and that night Danny, Tim, and I each opened our computers to compare bird lists—theirs in Excel spreadsheets, mine in an old-fashioned Word document.
As we worked through our lists, we realized that sometimes we’d missed writing things down. For instance, I showed up with 110, but when we got to pine siskin, I knew I’d seen hundreds at my feeder and somehow they hadn’t appeared on my list. Danny, in fact, had added pine siskin when he visited us in October and saw them at said feeder.
So my personal count was up to 111.
It pains me to note that I am the only one who failed to see an indigo bunting.
In the middle of that night—technically, very early Christmas morning—Tim woke me up. A great-horned owl was calling, seemingly directly above our heads, just outside. It was glorious. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t gotten a great-horned yet, but sure enough, it wasn’t on the list—only one screech owl (elusive!) and barred owls (everywhere!). 112.
On our drive home from Pennsylvania, somewhere in New Jersey, we finally saw a black vulture (less common than the turkey vulture, but odd that we hadn’t yet confirmed ID on one). 113.
Then yesterday, as I was staring at the birds ’round our feeder, I saw a sparrow I just wasn’t sure about. I called Tim, got out the binoculars and the guide, and we identified our first-ever American tree sparrow, which winters here. 114.
As I suspected, our total was less than 150. Danny wants us to keep track again next year. It’s clear that without extensive travel and intent, we’ll never hit 250. I think I was the one who was most disappointed with the number—a number I’ll report when it’s final, after 16 more hours of possibility.