This year, Mass Audubon is raising money for its sanctuaries through a Backyard Bird-a-thon. Aside from your backyard, this includes places you can walk, pedal, or paddle to from you home. We are part of the South Shore Sanctuaries team and will be collecting data mostly from home, with a few paddles and pedals here and there.
For our part, we have an ambitious plan (more like Fiona and Jackson do) for the upcoming backyard bird-a-thon that begins tonight at 6 and ends 24 hours later tomorrow.
First, we ride our bikes out to Minot and the Glades to get some good sea and shorebirds. Then we return before sunset to set up a tent beside the brook behind our house. From this point, when it’s not raining (or thundering), we/they will listen for night birds and nighttime migrations, using a mixture of microphones and homemade amplifiers (a squirrel guard). Hopefully, no fishers show up. After warming up with breakfast, the bird-a-thon will continue with a mixture of rooftop observations and brook visits. I also hope to get the kayak into the brook and push through reeds and fallen trees to get to the ocean. I most likely will get only a few hundred feet. In the end, we hope to get over 60 bird species and have a lot of data for Mass Audubon.
But as the time neared, making it a true backyard bird-a-thon became the new focus.
And so as the sun sets, we’re camped out in our back woods, the brook flowing slowly beside us. Orioles and Red-Winged Blackbirds echo from nearby trees and a Worm-Eating Warbler buzzes above us. We now wait for the night calls and try not to pay attention to the rustlings and the buried deer bone protruding from the soil in front of our tent.
And with final rays of light fade to silver, the beautful flute song of a Wood Thrush floats through the forest.
30 birds and counting…