Irruptive birds are in Audubon’s sights
Certain bird species are spending this winter in Northeast Ohio in especially high numbers. Blackbrook Audubon Society encourages everyone to connect with these rare visitors and record them, as well as resident birds, for the Great Backyard Bird Count February 12 -15.
Common Redpolls and Evening Grosbeaks have flown here from Canadian latitudes. They are part of a group known as irruptive species. Both of these finches visit feeders and are easy to spot. Participants in the GBBC are invited to count all bird species and individuals for at least 15 minutes on one or more days that weekend, regardless of age or birding skill level. Instructions, apps and bird ID tips are available at www.birdcount.org.
Blackbrook Audubon lists popular birding spots and links on the resources page of their website, blackbrookaudubon.org. Follow Blackbrook’s Facebook page for current sightings. Contribute to this international count by adding the irruptive species to your list before they head back north and before the annual spring migration begins. Blackbrook suggests participants bird safely following the current Covid-19 guidelines.
Whether counters record birds at their feeder, in a park, or any other location, submitting these numbers will enhance the snapshot of bird distribution and abundance. This will help scientists answer questions on migration patterns, spread of diseases and the effects of weather and climate change. When the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society launched GBBC in 1998, they created the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and display the results in near real-time. Birds Canada joined the effort in 2009. Birds observed locally can be compared to other reports in the region with maps on the project website during and after the count.
Last February, participants in almost 200 countries counted more than 6,900 species of birds on over 260,000 checklists. Make sure the birds in your favorite spot aren’t overlooked!
Common Redpoll by Gus Lanese
Audubon shares threats to birds in Colombia
Cleveland-area photographer and author Steve Cagan will introduce Blackbrook Audubon guests to the Colombian Pacific coast rain forest area of El Chocó in a virtual program Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. He will describe the biodiversity of this natural treasure and the harm caused by mechanized gold mining and indiscriminate logging. His photographs also reveal how traditional human cultures are threatened by the violence of the Colombian civil conflict and criminal gangs. Cagan will share how he contributes to community resistance to these threats with his camera.
Anyone interested in hearing the presentation must register on the event page of blackbrookaudubon.org. A link will be sent to each registrant’s email address.
While the program starts at 7:00 p.m., Trevor Wearstler, the host and president of Blackbrook, will allow people into the meeting about 6:30 to familiarize themselves with the software features or to chat with other attendees.
Cagan has been practicing activist photography since the mid-1970s. He has been working on his current project, “El Chocó, Colombia: Struggle for Cultural and Environmental Survival” since 2003. View examples of his work at www.stevecagan.com and socialdocumentary.net/photographer/stevecagan.
As a local chapter of National Audubon Society, Blackbrook Audubon covers Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake Counties. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Blackbrook Audubon Society on Facebook for updates.
Flame-rumped Tanager by Steve Cagan