December bird forecastDecember 4th, 2012 at 1:30 pm by Jim Spencer under Weather
What to watch for in December: Counting birds
Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.
The Christmas Bird Count
In a couple of weekends comes an annual event that will bring out lots of birders all across Austin: the Christmas Bird Count. It’s the 113th annual Christmas Bird Count, and the 44th annual count here in Austin. Anyone can participate in this event, and the data you collect help Audubon and other organizations determine the health of bird populations and where to direct conservation efforts. About 150 species are expected to be spotted during the course of the day. Learn more and sign up at www.austincbc.com.
Ducks, ducks and more ducks
If you run or walk the Lady Bird Lake trail you have probably noticed more bird activity on the Lake. December brings high concentrations of Gadwalls, Lesser Scaups and Bufflehead to the lake, where they join waterbirds like American Coots and Double-crested Cormorants, which all spend the winter with us.
One of the most recognizable ducks on the lake is the gorgeous Wood Duck. As the All About Birds website notes, males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather; the elegant females have a distinctive profile and white pattern around the eye. Look for them at inlets along the north shore of the lake. They generally stick close to the water’s edge and do not congregate with other species. Unlike many ducks, they can perch in trees. When they swim, their heads jerk back and forth slightly, much like a pigeon when it is walking.
To celebrate the season, think green: Monk Parakeets are always eyecatchers as they chatter away from their nests on cell phone tower platforms and light poles. Look for these lime-green birds on the north side of Lady Bird Lake, at the intramural fields on 51st and Guadalupe streets, and on the east side of Austin at schools such as Martin Middle School and the Krieg Fields along Pleasant Valley Road.
Decorations for the birds
If you want to give your birds a holiday gift, keep it simple with pine cone “ornaments.” Dab pine cones with peanut butter, add some bird seed and hang from trees in your yard. If you have a lot of smaller pine cones, you can create strings with multiple cones and hang between trees. Tip: tie the string on your cones first so you don’t get yourself all peanut buttery later. This is a easy and fun activity for kids.
Monthly Travis Audubon meeting: Potluck and silent auction
In lieu of a regular meeting, Travis Audubon holds a holiday potluck and silent auction on Dec. 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The auction items include gift items, products, services and some amazing trips. Join us at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive.
Field Trips — Check the Travis Audubon website for details
Super Tuesday! At Doeskin Ranch led by Deb and Lee Wallace
Tuesday, December 4 7:00am to noon
Monthly Bird Count at Hornsby Bend
Saturday, December 8, 7:00am & 4:00pm
Commons Ford December Bird Walk
Saturday, December 8, 7:30 to 11:30am
Tejas Park, Lake Georgetown
Sunday December 9, 7:00 to 11:00am
Super Tuesday! In the Blanco State Park area led by Terry Banks
Tuesday, December 11 7:00am to early afternoon
Austin Christmas Bird Count, 2012
Saturday, December 15, all day
Balcones Christmas Bird Count, 2012
Monday, December 17, all day
Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jane Tillman and Raeanne Martinez