Date: 10/26/18 5:37 am
From: Timothy McKay <tamckay...>
Subject: [birders] Help with Mississippi CBCs?
Passing on an opportunity from former Ann Arbor birder Melissa Morang.
Tim McKay

Dear SE Michigan Birders,

Would any of you be interested in a birding trip to Mississippi this
Christmas? West-central Mississippi is beautiful in the winter, and the
birding is great, but Christmas Bird Counts are really hurting for
participants. I'm trying to do a bit of recruiting.

My name is Melinda Morang, and I was a grad student at U of M from
2008-2012. I participated in a couple of your Christmas Bird Counts and
other events during that time, and I remember you guys being very nice and
welcoming. I was so impressed by your participation levels for the CBCs,
especially given the typical weather (one year it was sleeting all day).
It was so great to see lots of young people involved and like 40 or 50
people out counting!

I live in California now, but I typically return to my hometown of
Vicksburg, Mississippi around Christmastime and participate in the CBCs
around there, which I have been doing since the age of 11. We have been
really hurting for participants in recent years because. We're lucky to
get even 8 or 10 people on some counts. Also, people don't do a lot of
ebird and stuff like that, so there's not a lot of data coming in
regularly, and the CBCs are really important!

West-central Mississippi is full of gorgeous hardwood bottomland forests,
swamps, oxbow lakes, and agricultural land. Counts last from sun-up to
sundown, and the weather will almost certainly be better than Ann Arbor's.
Some species you see in Michigan winter in Mississippi, so you'll be
familiar with a lot of the birds; however, you'll also see some things you
won't see in Michigan, like red-headed woodpeckers, fish crows, and
anhinga. You will see a mockingbird and a Carolina wren in every tree, and
you may see insanely large flocks of red-winged blackbirds and wintering
snow geese. One year we saw 11 bald eagles in one day. About 90-100
species are typical for these counts. In addition to lots of cool birds,
you are almost guaranteed to see alligators, and you might get lucky and
see an armadillo or a black bear.

Counts haven't been scheduled yet, but there are typically several counts
circles in west-central Mississippi that you could participate in:
- Vicksburg
- Eagle Lake
- Tensas National Wildlife Refuge (actually in Louisiana)
- Washington County
- Sidon
- Jackson
- Natchez

If anyone is interested and wants more information, contact my father,
Andrew Morang, at <moranga...> or 601-634-1340. He can help get
you involved in the Mississippi counts, help you find a place to stay, tell
you what to bring, etc. He can also tell you about other interesting
things to do in the area. It's also a great place to visit if you're
interested in the Civil War, the Blues, or the Mississippi River.

Happy counting!

Melinda Morang

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