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2022 - 23 Christmas Bird Counts


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I plan on participating in two so far, Columbia on Dec 17th and Lower Saluda on the 31st.

Someone who's working a particular portion of the Columbia circle has asked for company.  It's mostly swampy bottomlands with some open farm fields, one of those areas you bird from the roads.   I've birded a hotspot on one end of the area a handful of times. 

The Lower Saluda date is chosen to match a scheduled 'end of month' walk along the river through the middle of the circle.  I enjoy that park and the usual gang, but I think it leaves other portions of the circle underbirded for CBC purposes.  For the last couple of years I've counted a couple of hot spots in the southwestern quadrant.  

https://audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=ac275eeb01434cedb1c5dcd0fd3fc7b4&extent=-81.4651,33.7111,-80.4104,34.1180

So what do the rest of y'all have lined up?  Let us know how your counts went!

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So far I've only signed up for the count at the Estación Biológica las Guacamayas, an adventure - about 16 hours travel by bus to get to the city (Flores) a couple of hours from the little town where we board a boat for the final 45 minutes to the station. The group stays for two nights so there's a lot of great birding company in a lovely setting! This year we're going earlier; normally we arrive just at dinnertime the first day, but this year we're leaving in the morning to arrive for lunch, and hopefully there willl be some time to explore the area a little bit more. Second day is the count, which starts between 3 and 5 AM depending on your route and ends around 5 or 6 PM. In the evening the count teams get together to complete the lists and paperwork. Third day after breakfast we do the full count recording. It's fun because everyone can see what each team saw and get the results right away. Then back to Flores for late lunch time. I'm so excited to go since it's been two years since the last one!

I'm sure I'll do the count in Panajachel in early January; that's only a few hours away and my friend and count organizer there always kindly offers me hospitality in his home. That one is a little less intense; we usually start at 4:30 or 5:00 and finish by late afternoon, and generally take a break to have a sit-down lunch somewhere. However, it is actually two counts on consecutive days, so we do all that twice. Breakfast is easy-to-eat food that everyone brings to share - sandwiches, chuchitos (corn dough with a small piece of chicken soaked in a flavorful sauce, wrapped in corn husks and steamed), bread, boxes of atol (normally hot drink but of course cold in this circumstance, made from corn, soy, and other grains, flavored with cinnamon and sometimes chocolate), bananas, etc. We usually sit down somewhere but breakfast is always interrupted by birds.

Waiting to hear about counts in Cobán and the Ranchitos del Quetzal; normally they plan these dates so you can hit all three in one trip, for nine or ten glorious days of bird watching and counting! They also started doing counts in Tikal a year or two before the pandemic, but I haven't been to that one; maybe this year? Cobán is lots of fun, and friends of mine who run an ecology program there and organize the counts usually offer lodging at their facility for the count. Not everyone stays there - a lot of the counters in that one are locals who just come the day of the count - but it's another time for hanging out with birders, and I don't get to see my friends very often either. The abundance of local birders makes it a very different experience too. All of these are also usually from 5 AM or so until 5 or 6 PM. 

I'm so excited that I can do counts again this year! I did do the Panajachel count for 2022 in January of this year, but none in 2020 or 2021. (Well, actually I did do the 2019 Panajachel count in January 2020.) I've really missed them; there are friends I only see at these events and it's a a dream birder's vacation.

 

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1 hour ago, Charlie Spencer said:

You're not limited to joining the closest circle.  Click on any circle to get the coordinator's contact info.

Can you join Audubon CBCs and field trips for a different chapter than the one you have a membership up for? If so, do you need to get a membership to participate with other chapters?

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27 minutes ago, IKLland said:

Can you join Audubon CBCs and field trips for a different chapter than the one you have a membership up for? If so, do you need to get a membership to participate with other chapters?

I need different memberships for different chapters. A friend knows the guy that leads my CBC, and is going to try to contact him.

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9 hours ago, Birds are cool said:

Yes

No.  Maybe that applies to the circle / chapter combination closest to you but it definitely doesn't apply to all of them.  Some circles in this area have no affiliation with any chapter.  Others near me are coordinated by a chapter, but it has either free membership or the count is open the count to anyone who wants to participate.  One count near me is in a restricted area; participation requires an explicit invitation from the count coordinator (employed by a state agency that manages the count) AND security clearance by the federal government agency that owns the property. 

Again, I emphasis contact the individual circle coordinator and asking for details.  What's common to the circles in your area may not apply to all.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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2 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

No.  Maybe that applies to the circle / chapter combination closest to you but it definitely doesn't apply to all of them.  Some circles in this area have no affiliation with any chapter.  Others near me are coordinated by a chapter, but it has either free membership or the count is open the count to anyone who wants to participate.  One count near me is in a restricted area; participation requires an explicit invitation from the count coordinator (employed by a state agency that manages the count) AND security clearance by the federal government agency that owns the property. 

Again, I emphasis contact the individual circle coordinator and asking for details.  What's common to the circles in your area may not apply to all.

Alright, I will.

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14 hours ago, Birds are cool said:

Yes

 

5 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

No.  Maybe that applies to the circle / chapter combination closest to you but it definitely doesn't apply to all of them.  Some circles in this area have no affiliation with any chapter.  Others near me are coordinated by a chapter, but it has either free membership or the count is open the count to anyone who wants to participate.  One count near me is in a restricted area; participation requires an explicit invitation from the count coordinator (employed by a state agency that manages the count) AND security clearance by the federal government agency that owns the property. 

Again, I emphasis contact the individual circle coordinator and asking for details.  What's common to the circles in your area may not apply to all.

I only plan on doing CBCs with my chapter anyway. What about field trips? Do you have to be a member to go on a field trip?

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2 hours ago, IKLland said:

 

I only plan on doing CBCs with my chapter anyway. What about field trips? Do you have to be a member to go on a field trip?

For my local Audubon chapter, all the field trips cost a lot of money. But if you’re a member, you get a discount! I’m not a fan of it. The only free things my chapter does happen on weekday mornings in the spring months when I have school or work. I’m going to join the Oregon Birding Association instead. 
 

The CBC is free though as I don’t think it’s directly affiliated with the Audubon chapter, as others have already mentioned. 

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14 minutes ago, Colton V said:

For my local Audubon chapter, all the field trips cost a lot of money. But if you’re a member, you get a discount! I’m not a fan of it. The only free things my chapter does happen on weekday mornings in the spring months when I have school or work. I’m going to join the Oregon Birding Association instead. 
 

The CBC is free though as I don’t think it’s directly affiliated with the Audubon chapter, as others have already mentioned. 

It's my understanding that several years ago a policy was made that participation in CBCs was to be free. Before that they charged $5 per person (which isn't as nominal fee in some places as in the US). But some of ours do have significant costs associated with them because they require travel, lodging, and food; but the actual CBC participation is free. None of the CBCs here require membership in any organizations, but I have no idea how that compares to the US.

But it seems like @IKLland should be checking with local chapters to find out what their policies are. 

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9 minutes ago, aveschapinas said:

But some of ours do have significant costs associated with them because they require travel, lodging, and food

I get why trips like these would cost money, but my chapter has the nerve to charge $85 ($65 for members) for a morning field trip where you drive yourself and bring your own lunch. 

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29 minutes ago, Colton V said:

I get why trips like these would cost money, but my chapter has the nerve to charge $85 ($65 for members) for a morning field trip where you drive yourself and bring your own lunch. 

Wow yeah that seems excessive. The facilities that host CBCs generally give a good discount on food, lodging, and travel expenses for CBCs.

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Both local Audubon chapters offer free trips to non-members.  You can e-mail in advance for meeting place info, or just show up.  We have a city park that has a free monthly walk.  The state F&W and a couple of conservation groups also do free or inexpensive walks too.

One local Audubon chapter has two membership levels, free (just send an e-mail and ask) and premium ($25 annually).  The higher level gets you access to a piece of property owned by the chapter.  I don't know the membership policies of the other local chapter.

1 hour ago, Colton V said:

I get why trips like these would cost money, but my chapter has the nerve to charge $85 ($65 for members) for a morning field trip where you drive yourself and bring your own lunch. 

I remember e-mailing them and asking about that. 

I never received a second reply.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Colton V said:

I get why trips like these would cost money, but my chapter has the nerve to charge $85 ($65 for members) for a morning field trip where you drive yourself and bring your own lunch. 

Huh. All of the trips through my chapter as free except weekend trips where there’s overnight hotels to pay for, food, etc. The pelagic trips also cost $85 a person, but the monthly/bi-monthly walks are free.

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