Campus Birding- 2012 edition

I participated in my first campus bird walk of the year yesterday. If you are new to my blogs, a quick explanation. I am helping to facilitate a casual birding group composed of faculty, staff, and students. We mainly try to organize lunch-time walks in the arboretum, although the email listserve (now with 70 members!) can be used to share other bird-related news or sightings relevant to the campus. We also have a facebook page; if you are interested in joining either of these let me know.

We had nice weather on our walk, and found over 30 species of birds. Nothing rare, but a nice diversity of songbirds. The biggest surprise was the continuing lack of birds on the water. When I started going on these walks a few years ago the waterway through the arboretum was bustling with ducks and geese in the winter, but this season it has been almost empty.

One of my resolutions this year is to keep better records of my birding. Towards that end, I’ve been reporting totals from my birding trips to eBird, a citizen science database from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that allows one to upload sightings and also see sightings that other people have posted. With thousands of checklists uploaded every month it is becoming another powerful tool to harness the enthusiasm and expertise of citizen scientists. The list of birds I uploaded can therefore help biologists here keep track of local birds, and also contribute to the monitoring of bird populations on a much larger scale.

There is a particularly nice opportunity to count birds on campus this weekend (Saturday, specifically). Andy Engilis from the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology recently organized an annual bird count of the campus. He is combining this with some historical records to document the avifauna of the campus and how it may be changing over the years. He describes it as a “Christmas bird count-style” event, where the campus is split into several territories, with teams of birders counting all the birds they come across within their territory. His recent email message to the UC Davis birding list is below:

…The count is on for that day.  There are still some teams needing help so if you have not been contacted by a leader, and still wish to help out please let me know and I will get you assigned to a team.  The count usually starts around 7am and runs until about 1 (that is about when we finish up).   Get back to me for assignments.

Best ,  Andy

Andrew Engilis, Jr.
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Office Phone:  530-752-0364
FAX: 530-752-4154


Feel free to contact him if you want

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