Subject: Bird of the year/century/millenium Date: Jan 2 08:51:55 2000 From: Teresa Michelsen - avocet at emeraldnet.net
My favorite US native bird of 1999 was probably the Limpkin I saw in the Everglades trip on the regional ABA conference in Florida in January. There were lots of other great birds on that trip, like the Snail Kite, many Plovers, Roseate Spoonbill, Tricolored Heron, etc, but I really like the Limpkin's shape and its surroundings were also wonderful (sea of grass), so it stands out in my mind.
Looking forward to the Texas ABA conference in a few weeks! Maybe I'll get to see a Harris' Hawk and that Green Kingfisher that's been eluding me!
Probably my best international bird in 1999 was the Black Grouse I saw in Scotland on our 10th anniversary trip in June. A close second was hearing a REAL Cuckoo in the woods for the first time - after hearing far too many cuckoo clocks! We never saw it, but I loved listening to it.
The best Millennium bird for 1900-2000?? Wow that's a hard one. I would have to pick one of the birds we saw in the Costa Rican rain forest (Santa Elena) from the Skywalk (suspension bridges that go into the canopy). There were many birds I was very excited to see, but the ones we saw up there I never would have expected to see and it was wonderful to watch little tiny canopy birds from up close - like Green Hermit, Tufted Flycatcher, and Ochraceous Wren. Probably the most fun to watch was another bird we saw on a forest walk - the Rufous-Browed Peppershrike (which has a great name) in a flock of warblers. Picture a largish shrike-sized bird with green and yellow coloration and a brown eyebrow-stripe wrestling with a HUGE, wiggling, bright green caterpillar. We're talking huge here - it just could not figure out how to actually eat it!! Well, there were too many good birds on that trip to fit into a millenium choice (I could continue for a while!!).
My first bird of 2000 was an Oregon Junco (one among many) swooping down from the tops of the cedars behind our house to the blackberry bushes under which they like to forage in the winter. These guys are the first true signs of winter for us every year (along with the Varied Thrush). They were noticeably early this year, compared to the weather which was still quite mild. I enjoy watching flocks of junco swooping around on winter mornings - makes me feel at home.