American Bittern

An American bittern hides in the grass during an annual 24-hour Christmastime ritual to count birds along the Texas Gulf Coast in Mad Island, Texas. The data collected, with the help of more than 50 other volunteers spread out into six groups across the 7,000-acre Mad Island preserve, will be regionally and nationally analyzed, landing in a broad database that includes results from hundreds of other bird counts going on nationally during a two week period. What began 113 years ago as an Audobon Society protest to annual bird hunts that left piles of carcasses littered in different parts of the country now helps scientists understand how birds react to short-term weather events, such as drought and flooding, and seek clues on how they might behave as temperatures rise and climate changes.

December 27, 2012 12:00 am  • 
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