by Joanna Reuter
Seeing lots of birds in a short period of time is exciting. Try to imagine:
These aren’t numbers from long ago or far away, but rather concentrations of birds reported to eBird within the six-county region served by the Columbia Audubon Society, mostly within the last decade.
To see many birds at once takes an element of luck, but being in a sensible place at the right time of year with reasonable weather conditions can substantially increase your chances. Over the coming year (or so), I plan to share seasonally appropriate summaries of major bird concentrations in our region based on existing eBird records. My goal for this occasional series of articles is to inspire some interesting birding trips and encourage attentiveness to avian dynamics. Perhaps this will result in some exciting observations, enhancing our individual and collective knowledge regarding large aggregations of birds.
When encountering a large flock of birds, especially in flight, it can be hard to decide how to allocate your observation time. Should you try to count? Take photos? Get a handle on identification? Just take a deep breath and enjoy? Focus on individuals or put the binoculars down to marvel at overall flock dynamics? Time (and birds) can fly by rather fast under such circumstances. If your goal is to see lots of birds, it’s sensible to have a mental action plan so you can get the most out an exciting situation. Here are some tips to consider: