Big Green March Birding Madness Month: Time’s up!
It’s over. Big Green March Birding Madness Month is over. Unless maybe you’re holding out for an owl – you technically still have ’till midnight! so go for it! In the words of Kermit the Frog, “it’s hard being green!” It’s seems way easier to hop in and out of a car to chase the birds you’re after, so if you’ve attempted the 100 bird checklist of March’s ‘Green Birding’ challenge, give yourself a huge pat on the back! And as if the “green” aspect wasn’t challenging enough, who knew that a month that was supposed to be the herald of spring would be so un-spring-like?
Yet we birded despite the snow storms and windy days that featured temperatures of -20 and -30 degrees C. I teamed up with several other birders and on our first outing at the very beginning of the month we managed a Snowy Owl, a Horned Lark, and several flocks of Snow and Canada Geese. If geese day dream while they fly, then the ones who flew over us surely questioned their decision to come back north as they braved the miserable winds aloft that were likely even more fierce than those we had on the ground below. We froze our butts off for 4 species and walked the road for an hour out in the boonies with a fleece blanket to fend off the wind chill. Well for the sake of full disclosure, I was the only one with the blanket over my coat, but for good reason!
Today, the final day of this mad challenge, we once again encountered biting winds that moved in ahead of still another (albeit supposedly mild) snow storm forecast for this afternoon. So much for spring! If you’re wondering, we only got one more species – a Red-shouldered Hawk – to add to the list despite our two hours of wandering about.
Perhaps a fitting end to a more snowy than anticipated month, our last bird today, while not a new species, was a white tailed, Black-capped Chickadee. Dare I take some license and nickname it a Snowy-tailed Chickadee? This abnormality is called leucism, a condition caused by a lack of the cells that produce melanin pigment. This can lead to a bird being completely white or just partially so like the Chickadee in the photo above. However, it can also be caused by an injury such as from a predator and will grow out with the next molt. But it goes to show you, there’s always something interesting to discover while you are out birding. You just never know what surprises may come your way!
I hope your green adventures were worthwhile, made this month a little more interesting and that you discovered some interesting surprises along the way too. You can report your March Madness results no later than April 6 th, 2017 using this online form The results will be posted by April 14th, 2017.
In the meantime, stay tuned for another challenge coming your way for April…