All bird enthusiasts are expected each year at the annual Christmas bird count of the National Audubon Society hosted by Bill Williams and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges. All kinds of bird species are to be seen. Expect to see even unusual species for the area you’re in and everything that can happen, only for the delight of the participants.
The bird count consists of nine teams who go out in each wildlife refuge to spot and document birds. This year’s count reached 119 species and 8,579 individual birds, as stated by the count-leader DeeDee Lorenzo. Last year’s count was poorer in number of species. A total of 111 was reported, but it was richer in the number of individual birds – 9,242.
The event gathers people from all around North America. They all expect to see rare birds that are not to be seen in their areas and, moreover, winter is the perfect time for bird-watching and going out in the open. For example, the count-leader said his group hosted people from Alaska and even Ontario.
The excitement gets even bigger at the prospect of seeing birds that are native to whole different areas. One of the top sightings of this year’s count was the black scoter, spotted at the Bill Williams refuge. This species is native to Northern Canada and Alaska. Its appearance in Arizona was almost unconceivable until now. Among other exquisite sightings that are not common to Arizona include the yellow warbler, the dusky flycatcher, Bonaparte’s gull, the northern waterthrush and Franklin’s gull, a native of the Lower Colorado River Valley. These former species have been spotted at the Havasu Wildlife refuge.
The purpose of these bird counts is not only entertainment. All the numbers are carefully put down and introduced into a national database. These databases can be analyzed afterwards so that we can see what happens to bird populations. Not to mention that making people go into the outdoors is a huge benefit for both their physical and mental health. There is no competition, just people working together, enjoying themselves and doing ornithological research at the same time.
The bird count takes place inside Topock Marsh, encompassing Topock Gorge, Golden Shores and Needles. If this experience sounds entertaining enough, make sure to check in to the next bird count around next Christmas.
Image Source: Flickr