On New Year's Day I participated in the 2011 Christmas Bird Count at our Mt Hood Bed and Breakfast. Although this yearly event has been going on now for 111 years through the Audubon Society, it is the 23rd annual event in the Hood River Valley. Unlike many who braved the single digit temps, I stayed close to home, I did have B&B guests to pamper, participating in the FeederWatch Count.
Thousands of volunteers braving the winter weather, grab their binoculars, bird guides and checklists to head out on an annual mission – often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season to make vital contributions to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action. Visiting our feeders yesterday were:
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
9 California Quail
1 Northern Flicker
7 Steller’s Jay
2 Western Scrub Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Chestnut-backed Chickadee
2 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 Song Sparrow
From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition — and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation. Our feeders sit right outside our dining room so our guests got to participate in the count, expanding their birding knowledge.
I love birding, still have a lot to learn, and Oregon is an amazing state to explore the world of Ornithology. I have written quite a few blogs on the subject, including lodging options at the member inns of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild.
The State of Oregon is a bird watchers paradise. There are extensive reserves and habitats that serve as excellent nesting and brood rearing areas for waterfowl and colonial nesting birds including American white pelican and several heron species. Many of our member inns have habitats on their grounds or are located near areas ideal for birding. Grab your binoculars, choose an inn, and set out on your bird watching adventure.
Spring activity along the major flyways begins in March and then the spring rituals in our habitats and backyard resume. The Oregon Cascade Birding Trail (OCBT) is a great place to begin your birding adventure. From there you can decide where you'd like to visit. When you have made that decision turn to the website for the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild and I am sure you will find an inn close by.