By Jacco Gelderloos, CBC Compiler. 

As I prepare to write this year’s CBC announcement, I am struck by a feeling of déjà vu – a quick check of the 2016 article confirms it: that, too, was largely written on an unseasonably warm October day, with temperatures hovering near, or even hitting, the 80-degree mark! Bizarre stuff, but perhaps a sign of things to come? Or perhaps, a fluky Indian Summer weekend ahead of cooler, more normal fall weather (whatever that may mean these days)? We’ll see….

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, this annual trip is a favorite for hard-core WAS members. Because access to the landfill is restricted, we rent vans for the trip and have to limit the number of participants. First priority goes to Washtenaw Audubon members who have not recently been on this trip. Second priority will be given to Washtenaw Audubon members who have previously attended this trip. Third on the priority list are non-members, who may be placed on a wait list on a first come, first served basis and will be admitted three days before the trip to fill any remaining spots. There are 24 spots available.

During the potluck-tally gathering at the closing of this year’s Ann Arbor Christmas Bird Count, we discussed if the 2016 edition was the tenth anniversary of my role as count compiler. Neither the previous compiler, Nancy French, nor I was sure when the baton was passed from her to me, but after reviewing my CBC records, I found that 2007 was my inaugural year as compiler, which means that this year, 2016, was, indeed, my tenth year in charge of the Ann Arbor CBC—how time flies!

The 2017 Washtenaw County May Count is finally a wrap! Our total of 171 bird species observed stands respectable among the totals of years past, with 132 expected species and 39 unusual species for the area. Last year we observed 176 species. This year we had dozens of volunteers fan out throughout the county, searching for birds, and recording everything in eBird, a citizen science project, though Cornell University. Now, instead of our results being buried in the obscure scientific journal, Michigan Birds and Natural History, to be published several years after the fact, scientists have access to our data in real time. Was it a light migration in mid-May for common Warbler species? Yes, it was, as we can see from our County Results. If I am a scientist studying trends from this year’s migration, I have the Washtenaw County data at my fingertips, right in eBird. For the complete count of species by Townships, click here.

Come join in this friendly competition on Saturday, March 11, sponsored by Washtenaw Audubon!

Here are the rules and regulations. Email us if you have any questions

  • Form a team of at least three people and select a public road in Washtenaw County that is likely to yield a wide variety of species in early March. The following roads are not eligible for the competition: Huron River Drive, Michigan Avenue, North Territorial. All other roads are allowed, but please use good judgment in considering safety in addition to bird-related considerations.
  • More than one team is allowed to use a given road. You will not "own" your road.
  • Start searching your road as early as you like on the morning of the event (i.e., any time after midnight). Look and listen for as many bird species as possible, stopping not later than 11 AM. Only species observed from midnight to 11 AM will count.