[birding] Polk County migration count will be on September 22nd

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Sat Aug 31 19:39:58 PDT 2013

Hi all,

This year marks Oregon's 20th year of participation in the North
American Migration Count (NAMC). This count was started on the east
coast as a way to get a "snapshot" of bird migration across the
continent. Oregon's participation was an initiative by Pat French.

As bird counts go, the NAMC is about as relaxed as you can imagine. The
only "protocol" is to keep track of the miles and hours birding, whether
your style of birding is by car, by bicycle, by boat, or on foot -- or
simply watching a feeder in your back yard (in which case you don't need
to worry about mileage). 

You count every bird that you see (or can identify by ear), for each
"style" of birding. Whether you want to spend a full day on a "big day"
effort or you can only count birds in your back yard for half an hour,

The NAMC has sometimes been criticized for its relatively free-form
sampling methodology. Much of this criticism is valid. However,
statistical warts and all, at this point the NAMC is our longest-running
sample of spring and fall migration. 

The Christmas Bird Count (at 112 years) and the Breeding Bird Survey
(50-some years) have been around longer, and the BBS in particular is
much more systematic. However they only cover early winter and late
spring/early summer bird distributions.

With the advent of web-based collaborative birding databases like Don
Baccus' www.birdnotes.net and Cornell's more recent eBird, you could
argue that a continuous record of daily bird observations is more
valuable. However, the reality is that most of us only make time to go
birding and record observations when there's some sort of scheduled
event. So I think there's still value in designating a particular day or
weekend during migration, when more of us make an effort to get out and
do some birding.

This fall's migration count will happen on the weekend of September 21st
& 22nd, depending on which counties you want to bird in.

In Polk County, we'll be holding the count on September 22nd. This
choice of dates is for no other reason than that September 21st is my
daughter's birthday, and I want to be home that day.

If you're able to do a little birding in Polk Co. on the 22nd, I'll
appreciate your report on whatever birds you happen to find.

Happy migration,

P.S. Just last week, while hunting through a stack of /Oregon Birds/
back issues in response to Pam Johnston's request, I happened across an
article that Pat French wrote to sum up the 1995 fall migration count,
which was the first statewide fall migration count ever conducted in
Oregon. Here are some excerpts, for the sake of nostalgia:

"Some highlights of the count included reports of Horned Grebe in Baker,
Clackamas, and Lake County. A Red-necked Grebe was observed in
Washington County ... No Swainson's Hawks were observed. ...A Pacific
Golden-Plover was reported from Curry County. ... The highest single
count of any single species goes to the 11,500 American Avocets in Lake
County. ... Sanderlings were not surprisingly observed in Curry County.
The surprise was that two were also observed in Baker County. ... A
Sabine's Gull was reported from Lake County. (Are you starting to feel
like you should take a September vacation in Lake County?) ... Hermit
Thrushes were reported only from Curry and Polk Counties. ... No
Black-headed Grosbeaks were observed. One Lazuli Bunting was present in
Josephine County .... Quite large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows were
reported from Harney County."

Pat later passed the baton to Dennis Vroman. Chuck Gates has served as
state coordinator for the past however-many years and deserves a big
hand of applause for his efforts!

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