Are You Sitting?
This Sunday, October 8, 2006, is The Big Sit.
We'll be sitting (well, mostly standing actually) in our birding tower with a few friends. We've done the Big Sit at our farm for each of the past 11 years. Eight of those we've conducted from our birding tower (which I dreamt of building for years, basically to improve our Big Sit totals).
We've had many friends join us over the years. There are the die-hard regulars that make it almost every year: Steve, Shila, Lucine, Ava, and others. And there are some folks who make it every once in a while (and we're always happy to see them, and will miss a few this year: Hobart, that's you!).
It's the most casual of birding events. Lots of birds, then lots of food, more birds, afternoon conversations, lots of very bad jokes, then happy hour at 4 pm (when the eagle or peregrine is usually conjured). Then a rush of birds at dusk followed by many wistful goodbyes.
I normally find myself alone in the tower between midnight and 2 am at the start of the Sit, and from 9 to 10 pm at the end. At the end of the Sit I'm hoping to add a bird--maybe an owl we missed before dawn, or a woodcock or a flyover veery. But really, I just don't want the day to end.
It's peaceful up there in the damp fall night air. I think back over the day and over the years of the Big Sit at our farm. If we've set a new record, I bask in the glory and whisper a thank you to the record-setting species. If we've missed the record, I think about all the great birds that were here just yesterday! And all the birds I'll see tomorrow.
The Big Sit is, by far, my favorite birding event of the year. I hope you'll create a Big Sit circle and enjoy this year's event. It's free and fun, so what's not to llike? I love thinking about all the Big Sit circles all over the world--small groups of friends, gathered in some birdy spot, enjoying the birds . . . but mostly just enjoying each other's company.
For more info on the Big Sit, [which is a registered trademark of The New Haven Connecticut Bird Club], get thee here.
In case you missed it, my charming, talented, hot-shot-birder wife Julie Zickefoose had a Big Sit-themed commentary on NPR yesterday (October 3, 2006). You can listen to it here. And you can visit Julie's much more interesting and literate blog here.
Happy Sitting wherever you are! Please pass the Cheezy Poofs!