The Great Christmas Bird Count | Birds of North America | Topic

(birds chirping) (imitating birds chirping / pishing) – He’s playing hard to get in there. It never works when
there are people around. And so you’re just a
dude standing by a bush making weird mouth noises. When it works though, when it works, you feel like the king of nature. – Exactly.
– Yeah, exactly. – You feel like the king of nature. Stuff flies in and you’re just like, “Welcome to my world now.” (upbeat drumming) – [Jason] When I was 14, I spotted a Peregrine
falcon eating a pigeon on my windowsill in the Bronx. I never looked back. I’m Jason Ward.
This is Birds of North America. I’ve done a lot Christmas
bird counts in my day. They’re one of the best
traditions in birding. This year was a special
one as Jeffery and I had the opportunity to
travel to Portland, Maine and do a count with Nicolas
Lund and Rosemary Mosco. – This is Christmas bird count. This is the longest running
citizen’s science project probably ever. This has happened since 1900 where people used to just
go out and shoot birds at Christmas time for some reason. Now they’re just like, “can
we just count them instead? “That’s a little easier for everybody.” – [Jason] Nick, who works at Maine Audubon is also known as “The Birdist” and specializes in the inner section of birding and pop culture. Rosemary is a celebrated
artist and cartoonist whose passion for the
nature world is matched only by her wit and charm. While we’ve never really met in person, only on Twitter, it was like hanging out
with dear old friends. People have a lot of negative connotations when it comes to social media especially in today’s climate as divisive as it can be. I find my personal Twitter
experience to be a positive. – Well, and it really is that thing about it’s social media is a great
way to find like-minded people. I mean, I don’t know if in
our unique perspectives on what we do… Back in the day, how
would we find each other? That’s a big thing to hit with a car. That’ll dent your action. – Bluebirds are right here. More bluebirds yeah, right here. One flew out. – So cute. So they didn’t use to winter here. They’re sort of a new resident in the winter up this far, yeah. – [Jason] Nice. – [Rosemary] Do you think
it’s bird feeding that’s bringing them out? – Bird feeding and golf courses like this and ornamental planting. – [Rosemary] Well, they love playing golf. (laughter) – I do want to talk about
my favorite comic of yours that I’ve loved forever which is the Pygmy owl
comic where it just is destroying larger and larger prey. What was your inspiration for that? Just how badass they are? – It was a time where a
lot of people were feeling stressed out and feeling like maybe they didn’t have as big
a voice as they had thought. And I was like, I want to
do an inspirational comic, what’s an inspirational animal? And then my mind which is,
you know, kind of weird, went right to, oh an animal that can kill incredibly large prey. – Yeah, yeah. – [Rosemary] The only
problem with that comic is I did all this research to find out animals that they actually do kill like quail and flickers. But then the last one is
a moose, which is a joke. – Yes. – And I try not to do this
but people started writing in and they were like “Do
they actually kill moose?” – Oh my goodness. – And I was like “I’m so
sorry, I wish they did.” (laughter) – [Jason] What’s that over there? – [Nick] A couple crows on the ice and then another Great Blue flew over. – [Rosemary] Excellent. – [Nick] So flying over
the tree line, right here. – [Jason] Yeah, I got it,
I got it flying over one. – [Nick] Just over the trees. – [Jason] One above the water. – [Nick] In the sky, just
above the tree lines. – [Jason] Uh oh. (gun shots) – [Nick] Oh he’s shooting it. – [Rosemary] Kingfisher? Oh, a duck. – [Nick] Damn, shooting Mallards. That was intense dude. I’ve never actually seen someone shoot it. – [Jason] Yeah, I was in my binoculars when he started to shoot. – [Rosemary] There are a
whole bunch of guys out there. Can you see? – [Nick] I thought he was
shooting at that Kingfisher. What would we have done
if we shot a Kingfisher in front of us. – I don’t know. – We’re all standing here with cameras. What would we have done, Arrested him? – Wag that finger. – Yeah, he’s making, he’s doing,
he’s walking weirdly now. – [Rosemary] Yeah, maybe we
should leave this guy alone. – [Nick] Yeah, let’s keep going. Yeah, he does have a gun. – So, since you are a comic, have you gotten any ideas from what we’ve been doing earlier today when it comes to this
Christmas bird count? – So I was definitely thinking, we went to this beautiful beach earlier people will say, “I’m going to the beach.” And they’ll put their
towels and their sunscreen all this stuff in a nice bag, get their umbrella and
they’ll go to the beach and they’ll have a beautiful time. When birders go to the beach, we’re completely wrapped
up, we’re freezing cold, we’re staring through these
devices at a tiny bird a million miles away. And like, this is our idea
of a cool beach vacation? – You know what, that’s so true. I, so I live in Georgia and
I go to that beach for birds. There are people there in
bathing suits and bikinis and I’m there with a scope and binoculars. I’m like, I hope they don’t
think I’m looking at them. – That would be such a bold pervert move to go and just look at, with a scope. (laughter) You know what I mean,
just be like screw it, I just, I want to see. – [Rosemary] Dressed like a birder. – [Nick] So I’ll check in and make sure we’ve counted
everything correctly. – Yeah we’re on 140 Canada geese, 15 or so mallards, some
Rainbow gulls, Heron gulls, at least three Great Blue herons. One juvenile Red-tailed hawk. – [Jason] Yup. – There’s the Kingfisher,
two Downy woodpeckers. – [Nick] Still alive that Kingfisher? – Yeah (laughs) – The latest craze in the birding community.
– It’s a craze man. – It’s 100 percent a craze. The latest hot craze has been
Google Street View birding. – I know. – It’s a brilliant idea. – You know we started
this group on Facebook, and we have like 1,500 members now. And we found over 700 different
species around the world. And it’s just fun. – I remember you posting the target birds, and one of them was Bar-headed Goose. – [Nick] Yeah. – So, I had multiple tabs up, one is the street view
and I’m looking at roads that are around lakes in Mongolia. And I’m also looking at eBird trying to actually see where the most sightings have been seen And then I have another tab up that is talking about best nesting sites for Bar-headed Geese. I was on there for way too long. – Did you find them? – No. – But somebody did it, it
was just that same way. – Someone did in Mongolia
and I was so hurt. I’m like, I was there. – And he zoomed in and
it was like six pixels it was like, it was sort of
a white bag looking thing and that was it. – I almost think we are
on an FBI watch list. – I know. – But like, it is the funniest list. They’re like, “what do
these people have in common? “They’re just combing the streets.” (laughter) “Pixel by pixel, what
are they looking for?” How thick is the ice do you think? – [Nick] I don’t have a ruler. (laughter) – [Jason] I don’t know about this man. I don’t like this. I don’t like that there’s water under me. – [Nick] Alright, so let’s
see if we flush any buntings. – Can you still see it? – [Nick] Yeah he’s right in front of us. – Oh right there, right there. – [Rosemary] Really good
look, there he goes. – [Nick] Hold on I’m gonna call
him again (blows bird call). – Oh wow, yeah. So this is an American Tree Sparrow, it’s a lifer for me, I
don’t see that bird at all in the South-East. It has a bi-colored bill on a gray chest and this just beautiful head
pattern of grays and rufous kinda colors, it’s a beautiful bird. – [Nick] Congrats on the lifer man. – [Jason] Thank you. – [Nick] Well done.
(Rosemary cheers) (laughter) – [Jason] In your face. Each Christmas bird
count ends in a gathering to tally up the final numbers
and reflect on the day. An over 100 year tradition that
happens in cities and towns all over the country. – Well welcome everybody,
thanks for participating. The procedure is, I’ll read the species and we’ll go around
and each add your count and we’ll come up with a total. Canada Goose is an every
year bird of course, 2656 was the high, 128
the low, 780 last year. – [Male Birder] 210. – [Female Birder] 61. – [Male Birder 2] 47. – 207. – 159. – Gadwall on ten of the years, you had four one year, Gadwall? – 6 on Grondin Pond. – Alright. Green-winged Teal? Alright, so what I like to
do now, is just go around, briefly state sort of
your highlight of the day. – I think all of my
team’s was the Dickcissel. – Cedar Waxwings, just decorating a tree. – The Red-shouldered
hawk was just gorgeous. – For me, I think I’ve known Rosemary and Jason and
Jeffery as internet people for years now, to sort
of meet them this morning out on Eastern Trail as the sun was rising and we were walking through
the grass was, was great. – I remember the days before the internet, and I remember being this weird kid who liked all this nature stuff. And I got kinda teased for it. I didn’t really know anyone who did and I thought that I was kind of a misfit. And then as I’ve gotten older and I’ve discovered these communities, I’ve realized, this is a
thing that other people do. – That’s exactly my experience. – It’s just such a revaluation. And sometimes I give talks and you know, younger kids come up to me and they’re so thrilled to talk to someone who plays video games and
you know, watches birds. And I think, “Oh if I can
be that person for you I’m gonna make you feel less abnormal.” – That is the key. That is exactly, that impact. That’s the feeling.

17 thoughts on “The Great Christmas Bird Count | Birds of North America | Topic

  1. Excellent as always. It was really fun to see all of you meeting for the first time. And I totally agree about Twitter being a great place to meet like minded people.

  2. Sometimes I cant comment because im on my phone but, I love this show and discovered bird watching shortly before this show. Im 16 and getting into bird watching and to put it simply, this show is the highlight of my day everytime I see it 🙂

  3. I was in Portland on Dec. 28 and 29 to see the Great Black Hawk in Deering Park. Were you able to see it?

  4. Omg, I follow those two since I begin to understand birds, you're so lucky! Greetings from Mexico, I just found your channel yesterday it's amazing!

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