Christmas Bird Count

(c) 2009 Karl GerstenbergerEvery year, my wife and I celebrate the holidays by taking part in the National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count. Today was our local count, and it was pretty damned miserable standing out on the the windswept and ice-glazed Rockland Breakwater as the sun came up. My face is still frozen in one of those rictus smiles that used to be a by-product of the poison laughing gas the Joker used on his victims in the old Batman comics.

We were fortunate to be accompanied by good friends as usual, one of whom (Karl Gerstenberger) took the photo at left. That always warms the spirit. We saw a decent number of birds—no sky-darkening flocks of winter finches or anything—but enough birds to renew my faith that the human race hasn't thrown this one-and-only world of ours totally out of whack just yet.