Mary Tutwiler

Summer bird count begins

by Mary Tutwiler

Louisiana birders are a twitter this morning, reading about James Van Remsen’s sighting of a Red-footed Booby at Holly Beach. Yesterday, Elias Landry spotted 47 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, 25 Indigo Buntings 2 Pileated Woodpeckers and 1 Great-Crested Flycatcher among other birds at Jefferson Island. Meanwhile there’s a lot of chatter about fledgling Mississippi Kites on the internet , where a team of birders is posting their counts of summer birds spotted in the state.

The objective is to develop the Louisiana Summer Bird Atlas, a project of the Louisiana Bird Resource Center at LSU. Birders have divided the state into quadrants, and are spending at least 10 hours over the course of the next six weeks counting species. The count will identify important bird sites and help with conservation efforts. The state has developed a birding trail as well, pishing binocular-bearing tourists to flock to rare bird hot spots. According to the lieutenant governor’s office, Louisiana expects to generate approximately $30 million in direct and indirect economic impact from bird and wildlife watchers annually.