I've been interested in nature my entire life. However, my interest never really made it to the level of research and record what I learn. That didn't really begin until I was hired on, nine years ago, as a Park Naturalist for Utah State Parks.
Even then, I wasn't really a list keeper, or as detailed observer as some. I just observe, learn, enjoy and as often as I can, share that enjoyment.
However, early this year, I decided I'd like to keep track, at least of the birds I've seen. This put me on the path of developing an updated, and more accurate bird checklist for the park in which I currently work. This process put me in contact with Keith Evans, from Wasatch Audubon. What an amazing man, and terrific birder. One day while we were talking about possibilities with the checklist, and the help Wasatch Audubon could give, he mentioned the Christmas Bird Count. While I had never participated in one before, I was familiar with it.
He mentioned that at one time there was a circle set up in the Heber Valley (where I currently work), and that if I was interested, it would be great to reactivate that circle. I was interested. So after much guidance from Keith and John Bellmon (another Wasatch Audubon member extraordinaire) I was able to get in touch with the National office and get the circle activated once again.
I am looking forward to this whole process...my small dilemma is that I've not only never run a CBC before, but I've never participated in one. I like to see how someone else does something so I have a base line to start from. If not that, then I love lots of suggestions, and information on how things should/will look. I am going to participate in an upcoming CBC in another area, and look forward to that for many reasons. However, until then, I would be very grateful for any other information...
If any of you have participated in a CBC, or run one, would you be so kind as to send some thoughts and suggestions on how to make it successful? How long do groups usually spend in the field? How big is their chunk of the circle? Is it generally customary to hold a count/list tally later in the evening? And any other information you can share on your experiences with a Christmas Bird Count.
Oh, by the way. The Heber Valley count is Saturday, December 27. If you are free, come on over and help out.