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Sarasota News Leader December 21, 2012 instructions to report only unchecked species. The 273 Brown Pelicans flying south this morn are flying north at dusk and the Tricolored Heron has left the pond for the bay. Do not count the same birds twice! While noshing at Turtle Beach Pub, the couple, now comfortable with their new authority and responsibilities, are thrilled to see six Black-Hooded Parakeets land on the power lines. At dusk, a Spotted Sandpiper visits their dock. They cannot yet identify either species with certainty, so they email photos to Rick or Kathwren. Check! Check! Neither species was sighted until just now. It is obvious they have learned so much and are enthusiastically caught up in the spirit of the game. Or perhaps they have contracted avian flu? (Yes, I am still sore over losing!) Page 67 ���bird pix can be very difficult or impossible to ID when blurry! That Pileated Woodpecker can look like a woman���s running shoe missing some Velcro. Kathwren is organizing and coordinating checklist data. Final submissions to the local and national CBC coordinators are due soon. Someone reported a Swainson���s Hawk at Red Bug Slough. An impossible sighting in Sarasota? Probably. But, as Sam Spade said in the Maltese Falcon, it is ���the stuff dreams are made of���; so tomorrow, the birders will be there before dawn for a look, just in case. Everyone can participate in the CBC. Without sounding too gung-ho, because it is not everyone���s cup of birdseed, I would like to encourage readers to participate in the count. If the concept intrigues you and the ���game��� grabs your fancy, please check out the National Audubon Society link, which will provide you the path to your local chapter. The CBC ends at midnight. It is late evening. The team���s work grinds on. Rick is home fielding questions, identifying bird photos and sorting through amateur birders��� UFO reports And just for fun, I am including several photos of our most commonly-seen-around-Sarasota resident birds. Can you name them? The team, including those pesky newbies, have politely but firmly informed me there is no such bird as the Mangrove Raccoon-Masked Heron, but what do they know about birds that I do not? After all, I am ... Otus ABOUT OTUS ���Bird��� No. 11 Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Siesta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of nature���s secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to Thank you.

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