Two early-January birding events to help start the new year right

12/20/2013 | 0

Snowy Owl south of Armena, Alberta, by Jim McDougall.

Snowy Owl south of Armena, Alberta, by Jim McDougall.

Early January is a great time for celebrating cranes down in Alabama and looking for Snowy Owls and other northern birds up in Minnesota. It’s also time for a fun and important annual tradition — the Christmas Bird Count.

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Watch eagles in January! Here’s a list of festivals and watches.

January 4-5
Minnesota Birding Weekend
Duluth, Minnesota

Veteran tour leader Kim Eckert and a co-leader will lead 22 cold-hardy birders in search of Duluth-area specialties: Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Goshawk, Great Gray, Northern Hawk, and Snowy Owls, Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bohemian Waxwing, Snow Bunting, grosbeaks, crossbills, and redpolls. $30. (Note: This tour was already filled at the beginning of December, but the organizers recommend registering anyway. There could be cancellations, and an additional leader or another weekend could be arranged to accommodate birders on the waiting list.) MBWeekend website.

January 11
Festival of the Cranes
Decatur, Alabama

Wheeler NWR manager Dwight Cooley will lead an early-morning walk to see Sandhill Cranes and other birds; Joan Garland, education outreach coordinator for the International Crane Foundation, will speak about efforts to restore a migratory flock of Whooping Cranes to eastern North America; and Hope Takes Wing, a film by and about Operation Migration, will be shown twice. Friends of Wheeler NWR.

Watch the trailer for Hope Takes Wing.

BW0214_Cover_171x223Festivals and events

We highlight fun birding events in “Birding Briefs” in every issue of BirdWatching magazine. Most of the events above appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Read about these and other events in our online calendar.

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