In December 2009, I participated in the first ever Christmas Bird Count in Guadalajara’s Primavera Forest.
This involved rising at 5:15 a.m., driving to the meeting point through the pitch-black forest on a dirt road strewn with obsidian (broken chunks of natural glass) and then discovering that no one at all had shown up at the appointed starting time of 6:30 a.m.
The event, however, did eventually get going and a total of 877 birds of 76 different species were recorded that year for the Primavera Forest.
Eight years later, my conscience started nagging me when notice of the 2017 Bird Count popped into my email inbox. I had pushed off participating for too many years and could hardly come up with a good excuse anymore because one of the three meeting points for the Primavera Count is right inside Pinar de la Venta, where I live, and I know that non-birders are extremely helpful to the success of the Count. Why? Because the experts in the group depend on “many eyes watching in many directions” to tell them where to look, usually resulting in an instantaneous identification. Thus, if you can walk and you can see, you should not hesitate to volunteer for your local Annual Bird Count, even if you can’t distinguish a hawk from a hummingbird.
“I’m joining you for the Count, come what may,” I texted Jesús “Chuy” Moreno, co-leader of the Pinar contingent.