The birding club membership directory arrived today. First off….look for my name and make sure the entry is correct. Yep! They got my name and contact information right! They didn’t forget me!
I haven’t been to a birding club meeting for a while. The passion of birders makes it difficult for them to end each program on time. Every meeting seems to keep on going and going and going. If I stay for the entire program, it’s mighty late before I drop into bed and not very long after that when the alarm clock summons me. Makes for a pretty long day.
But, the programs are always excellent and the topics and expert speakers so varied! You’d think that one program about birds would be much like the next. But not so. I was fascinated by a program last year about Sandhill Cranes in migration along the Platte River in Nebraska. The presenters were a couple from Nebraska who had published a beautiful picture book about Sandhill Cranes. They obviously knew their subject and their photography was breathtaking! Sandhill Cranes are known to American Indians as “echo makers” because of their sonorous calls. It recalled to me that the National Book award-winning author, University of Illinois Professor Richard Powers, used the famous Platte River Sandhill Crane migration as the backdrop in his book, The Echo Maker. While it’s not a book about birding, I highly recommend it…forgive me for getting off topic here.
Back on track, the January 12th bird club program is about climate change impacts on birds in our region. It makes me think that the work done by citizen scientist Christmas Bird Count volunteers and bluebird monitors makes a difference in understanding our feathered friends. Focus will be on changes in the timing of bird migration, breeding, and the wintering and breeding range of our region’s birds along with environmental factors to which birds may be responding.
If the affects of climate change on bird migration and breeding sounds a bit too scholarly (boring) to you, you might enjoy Annual Members’ Night on March 8th. Wow! Members present their photographs taken during the year and it’s amazing the ends of the earth some members travel to for some really exotic wild bird watching! (I’m talking The Big Year kind of serious birding here, folks!) Combined with the power of their excellent photographic skills these members bring us a thrilling show! Come early to get a seat!
Visitors are always welcome at the birding club meetings. Plan your escape and join me!