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Annual Christmas Bird Count at Hagerman NWR

by
Friends of Hagerman NWR
Friends of Hagerman NWR Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to instill reverence, respect and conservation of our wild creatures and habitats through supporting environmental education, recreational activities, and programs of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.




While many folks are engrossed in holiday shopping, preparation and parties, enthusiastic birders and bird watchers of all levels of experience will be assisting in the Annual Christmas Bird Count at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, December 16.



NOTE:  You can count the birds at your backyard feeder as part of the Hagerman Christmas Bird Count if you live in one of these communities:  Pottsboro, Sherwood Shores, Georgetown, Gordonville, Cedar Mills, Mill Creek, Locust, Fink, Tanglewood or Preston. Please use friendsofhagerman.com/Contact for details and to register.


 


 The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the biggest event in the birding year, with over 40,000 participants, involving thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas annually from December 14 through January 5. This is the longest-running citizen science census in the world and is used to assess the health of bird populations. There are over 2,300 “circles” including the Hagerman Circle that provide this important information to Audubon.



According to the Audubon History site, (http://www.audubon.org/history-christmas-bird-count), “Prior to the turn of the 20th century, hunters engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt." They would choose sides and go afield with their guns—whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.”


The site continues, “Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era... many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an early officer in the then-nascent Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition—a "Christmas Bird Census" that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them.
So began the Christmas Bird Count. Thanks to the inspiration of Chapman and the enthusiasm of 27 dedicated birders, 25 Christmas Bird Counts were held that day. The locations ranged from Toronto, Ontario to Pacific Grove, California with most counts in or near the population centers of northeastern North America. Those original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined. “



For 2016, Audubon reported that “The Top Species this season was the Amazon Kingfisher at Laredo making its first appearance on a United States Christmas Bird Count.  Other rarities reported on the 2016 Texas counts included two Tundra Swans on the Muleshoe CBC, a “Great White” Heron during the Laguna Atascosa CBC, and an American Golden-Plover on the Matagorda County CBC. Texas set participation records with 112 CBCs, 3333 birders and 7970 party-hours. 
The sample area for a count is a circle, 15 miles in diameter, and varying numbers of volunteers count all birds they see in the circle during a single day. Volunteers are needed at Hagerman for this count. Coordinator Dr. Wayne Meyer will divide the circle into sectors and assign participants to a team led by an experienced birder; volunteers can register for a half day or a full day. The count involves car or van travel and some walking; participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars, or borrow those available at the Refuge. If planning to stay all day, bring a lunch or lunch money. A count social will be held 4 - 6 pm; at that time all of the team counts will be collated and a light supper will be served by the Friends of Hagerman, free of charge.


Please use friendsofhagerman.com/Contact or call the Refuge, 903 786 2826, to register as a participant. 




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Lake Texoma Fishing Report from TPWD (Dec. 13)

Water lightly stained; 47–51 degrees; 1.42’ high. Black bass are good on suspending jerkbaits, Senkos and shakyhead worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Striped bass are fair on slabs and minnows. Catfish are slow on trotlines and prepared bait.






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