Emerging from what seems like a long winter, I’m always happy to get back into nature to pursue my favorite pastime – birdwatching. The Great Backyard Bird Count was last weekend, and I’m happy to report that our winter bird population is vibrant and healthy. In fact, we’ve seen a robust return of common redpolls and pine siskins, whose numbers were very low last year.
Although the National Audubon Society’s first Christmas Bird Count was in 1900, my first foray was a few weeks ago when I joined Mary Backus and Sarah Sabatke, members of the Wausau Bird Club. Before this, most of my birding occurred in the spring, summer, and fall. Sure, we keep tabs on the birds coming to our backyard winter feeders, but the idea of going out to search for birds in the winter never really appealed to me – too cold and not a great variety of birds to see, or so I thought.