Birding in the National Parks
It sure doesn’t seem like a whole year has passed, but it’s time again for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, this is the 115th consecutive year the count has been held, making it one of the world’s longest running and largest citizen science projects. The 2014-15 count dates fall between December 14th and January 5th. Participation is free.
I’m presuming no one needs me to tell them that Florida is a good travel and birding destination in the winter. Looking out my window at the first sticking snow of the winter is making me think about the Everglades. Winter is the dry season there, and the dwindling seasonal wetlands concentrate birds and wildlife for easier viewing.
I’ve spending an awful lot of time thinking about the birds no one sees. That’s not something birders, or anyone, ponders often. We like to think about our lists, talk about the birds we’ve seen and the ones others have seen that we just missed. We don’t talk about the birds that no one ever sees, mostly because we don’t know anything about them.
I generally don’t have a problem wondering whether or not it’s a good time to bird. If no other duty calls, I’ve got binoculars in hand. I’ve certainly had birding as a top priority on every visit to a national park. Yet, on a dreary day in Pennsylvania last week, I visited a national park and wasn’t sure if wanted to bird, or even if I should consider it.
Birding In The National Parks: Grand Canyon National Park Designated Important Bird Area Of Global Significance
When it comes to the preservation of threatened and endangered bird species, it’s safe to say that there’s no such thing as too many layers of protection. Just because the habitat of a declining bird falls within the borders of a national park doesn’t mean that bird’s best interests will always be served. In most cases it will, but it never hurts to have that extra recognition.
Birding The National Parks: What Do Chiricahua National Monument And Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Have In Common?bootstrap
National park travelers are keenly aware of the changing seasons. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a completely different experience in August than in October. The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon need to be seen both in the blistering July sun and the January snow to be fully appreciated. And, of course, there’s Yellowstone – a bustling city on a summer weekend and a tranquil white wilderness on a bright February morning.
It’s been a while since I’ve used this space to tout the benefits of eBird, but the project keeps getting better and better, so it deserves another mention.