Winter makes a run at us these November days with rather grim reminders such as watching sunsets through trees with naked branches or walking with your back to the merciless wind.

A few of us wonder if a Christmas Bird Count is on the agenda for December? We lose that thought when autumn still digs her heels in and plasters the south side of the house with box elder bugs, and the retreating sun still can warm the neck.

But winter will have her way, and to prove it she sent her squadrons of sandhill cranes overhead in Jefferson County last week on a stiff northwest wind. Yep, what goes around comes around!

What about the Christmas Bird Count then? With the coronavirus dictating our almost every move, how will we work this out ... sending groups of birders afield ... tally the count?

But we just have to get outdoors, don’t we, as it seems to be our best taste of reality. The election also is aiding the virus in this reality equation. I recently saw a year 2020 math word problem that sums up all of this year.

If you were going down stream at three miles an hour and a wheel came off of your canoe, how much pancake mix would it take to roof your house?

Fort Atkinson will have a bird count of sorts! The Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen scientific field study in the United States. Started by the National Audubon Society years ago, it helps keep track of bird population trends.

Early in this century, citizens went afield to see how many bird species they could shoot in one day over the Christmas season. Thank goodness this was changed to observing birds.

The rules state the count must be on one day only, that falls between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. The count area is named (Fort Atkinson) and the count circle has to have a radius of 25 miles. Groups normally are assigned areas for counting to prevent counting the same birds more than once. Not this year.

Fort Atkinson will have a Christmas Bird Count this year on Dec. 19. Just no “groups” afield and no tally meeting afterward.

The Friends of Rose Lake will conduct the count but not sending in a report as to bird numbers and species. We can call it a Christmas Birding Day.

Persons can go for a car ride, biking or hiking, anywhere in the Fort Atkinson area. They don’t even have to count birds, but just report how their outing went. The idea is to get out of the house, and help beat the virus and election blues.

Some people will be counting, however, in areas covered other years. Folks out that day might report any winter findings at the Friends of Rose Lake website or call the Wanies at (920) 563-6274.

If counters kept track of what they saw, they also can drop off the count sheet or any information in the Wanie mailbox at W5920 Lee Drive. We would love to hear from you and hope you enjoy your time afield. Keep in mind, this too shall pass!

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