Based upon the concept of a “big day”, when birders race around counting all the birds they can see or hear during 24 hours within a very large area, the Big Sit! is a bird-a-thon where people stay in one place and count all the birds that come to them. You get to help our biologists determine what birds are in the area as well as which ones may be migrating through. And it is all done from within a seventeen foot diameter circle. Some people have referred to it as a “tailgate party for birders.”
We invite you to spend a leisurely time helping us count birds all the while sitting in your favorite lawn chair. Staff of the National Bison Range is sponsoring its first Big Sit! to be held at Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, October 12, 2013. (For information about events near you, visit the Big Sit! website.)
We invite bird experts, enthusiasts and beginners to join us at the old picnic site at Ninepipe NWR. The site is along Ninepipe Dam Road between Hwy 212 and Ninepipe Road. To catch nighttime birds – such as owls and migrators – we will start counting within the circle at 4 a.m. and continue through to 10 p.m. During the daylight hours, we’ll spot many of our local birds. Everyone is welcome to drop in at any time and stay as long as they like. This can be a great opportunity for birders, new and experienced, to pick up tips and techniques from participants. We’re especially eager to enlist help from skilled observers who can help identify birds by sound, especially to help out during our “night time” hours. And let us know if you’d like to help set up or take down.
We will have drinks (hot and cold as appropriate) and water available throughout the day and a few heaters set up to help us brave our unpredictable Montana weather. Participants should dress appropriately and bring a coffee mug, water bottle, binoculars, snacks, and, of course, your lawn chair. We will also provide a chili lunch (meat and vegetarian varieties) for those who register ahead of time. Register at our Facebook page, call the Refuge at 406-644-2211 extension 207, or by email.
So, plan for a day of birdwatching and camaraderie. Instead of plopping yourself in front of a television set, come lounge with us in the great outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, the scenery, and the birds. We look forward to making our first Big Sit! a success and paving the way for future events.
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All it takes is the sight of red calves dotting the early spring landscape to understand that the Fish and Wildlife Service mission “for future generations” does not just refer to people.