'Twas the CBC Before Christmas: A Participant's Poem

Treat-munching, gift-giving, cider-imbibing. 'Tis the season for tradition. If you're a birder, there's another festive routine to add: the annual Christmas Bird Count, which kicked off December 14th and continues until January 5th.

Greg Cook, a member of El Dorado Audubon in Long Beach, California, was initated last year when he participated in his first count on December 18th. "It turned out to be very wet and rainy all day!" he wrote in an email to Audubon, "But my enthusiasm remained unbowed; I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!"

Citing the CBC's importance to birds, and to conservation in general, Cook was inspired to write a poem about his experience "in hopes of urging others to participate in future CBCs." Set to Clement Clarke Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," Cook's rendition appears below.

It seems like the CBC spirit is contagious, as another participant had a similar idea to Cook's; you can see her poem on Kimberly and Kenn Kaufman's blog site, here.

And what about you? Has a CBC gotten your creative juices flowing? Write your poems and share your anecdotes below.

'Twas the CBC Before Chrismas
By Greg Cook

‘Twas the week before Christmas
And all through the land
The birders were roaming
With count sheets in hand

I decided to join
In this count so important
Good data I’d gather
As a birder informant

Rain caused my first count
To be a soggy affair
I feared we would see
Not a bird in the air!

But undaunted we slogged
Through the guck and the muck
Through the drizzle and rain
To count even one duck!

But lo and behold
The birds seemed not to care
On the lake, on the grass
Even up in the air!

They flew and they ate
They squabbled and fussed
In their own birdish language
They argued and cussed!

We excitedly counted:
Was that big flock thirty?
Despite all the rain
It was surprisingly birdy!

We tallied and jotted
We counted and wrote
On count sheets so wet
The ink was afloat

But we stayed and we counted
O’er hill and ‘cross swale
To provide soggy data
For Audubon to detail

All too soon it was over
The count, it was done
Despite all the wetness
I had tons of fun!

I look forward to next year
Another tally to mount
I hope you will join us
For the Christmas Bird Count!

Read about one compiler's 50-year run in "Christmas Bird Count Bastion."

Birding legend Kenn Kaufman reflects on the CBC in "Birding That Counts."

Find out how your app could be harming birds in "The Rap on Apps."

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