Would you like to step away from the hectic pace that often accompanies this time of year? Did you know that there is 50,000 acres of wildlife habitat only 5 miles north of Madison? That wildlife habitat is a perfect place to find a little peace and serenity, even if it is only for a half a day.
Join the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge staff and the Big Oaks Conservation Society for our annual Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 15th. The Audubon Society established the Christmas Bird Count 114 years ago as a way to gather data about the winter distributions of various birds from around the United States and several other countries.
Don’t consider yourself a strong birder? Not to worry. Novice birders are paired up with skilled birders so that the only skill you really need is observation. Bring your curiosity as well. This is an opportunity to see areas of the refuge that are not open to the public. Additionally, the sights and sounds of a vast wildlife refuge in the winter is a treat.
You never know what you might see on the Christmas Bird Count. In 2009 a pair of Peregrine Falcons was spotted perching high up on a velocity coil tower. A camera was produced and a photo captured the second bird as it perched and then eventually flew off. There is a bit of a competitive edge to this citizen science outing. Christmas Bird Counters often strive to have the most number of species, the rarest species, or the largest number of miles covered.
If you’d like to join us, meet at the refuge office at 8 am. Counters may count for a half day or a full day. Everyone meets at the refuge at lunchtime, where results are compared and chili is enjoyed. Questions? Call the refuge office at 812-273-0783.