Saturday, May 12, 2012

Big Day

The curious, lilting song of American redstart fill the morning air in Ozark woods these days. Today marks the 19th annual North American Migratory Bird Count, a day when teams of birders scatter throughout a given county to record all bird occurrences. While similar to the Christmas Bird Count, the NAMBC has become less popular in birding circles in Missouri as many individuals seek personal Big Day records instead of participating in NAMBC. My Audubon chapter has conducted the NAMBC annually since its inception, and is out there today all over the county in designated routes and circles to continue the tradition. Last year's NAMBC occurred on a cold and rainy day, not the ideal birding day by far. Today's clear skies and light winds are certainly welcome, but the early leaf on of canopy trees is proving challenging to identifying high flying warblers. All week I've listened to the migratory warbler calls, the birds who don't stick around all summer and only pass through during spring and fall migration. Most of these breed up in the boreal forest rather than Ozark woodlands, so I don't have the luxury of listening to them all May and June. Blackpoll warbler is unmistakeable, but there are many others that I can only remember through constant repetition. See here for information on the International Migratory Bird Count and hit the woods for those colorful gems and truly intriguing calls that quickly pass through signaling spring.

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