Local woman sets bird watching record | Events
Cleveland Metroparks Naturalist Jennifer Brumfield's love of birds is what led her to commit herself to making 2012 a "Big Year" - a birding term related to recording the highest number of bird species in a particular geographic area in a single year. For Brumfield, the area was Cuyahoga County, and her final tally, 270, is a new record.
Brumfield shares the story of her Big Year in a Cleveland Metroparks School of the Wilds presentation on Sunday, March 24 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Rocky River Nature Center in Rocky River Reservation.
The free presentation promises to be revealing, in terms of Brumfield's infectious enthusiasm for her life's passion, the sheer number of different birds that can be seen close to home and some of the more out of the ordinary places one might have to go -- to set a record.
Brumfield will also discuss how to use the weather to help in birding, how the abnormal weather in 2012 affected her Big Year, and will share many colorful photographs and stories.
Just how significant is spotting 270 species in one densely populated county like Cuyahoga? Well, considering Brumfield broke the previous record of 240, which she also set, it's not likely someone could see very many more.
"I think the maximum number of species you could possibly see in Cuyahoga County in one year would be about 275," Brumfield said. "Considering there are birds like the Virginia rail found here that I didn't actually see last year and the number of accidental visitors depends so much on the weather, I think it would be possible to do only a few more than 270."
According to Brumfield the entire recorded history of bird species in the county going back 200 years is only 342 different species. So one starts to get the picture of how monumental 270 in just 12 months actually is.
Brumfield actually logged eight or nine species that had never been recorded in the county before including the western kingbird and a species of waterfowl, the king eider.
"You have to be devoted," laughs Brumfield. "You have to be willing to stand out in a storm outside Burke Airport for seven hours to set a record. But there's so much more to birding than records. It's the excitement of discovery, the thrill of the hunt. Going places you previously had no reason to go to and finding something unique."
Rocky River Nature Center is located at 24000 Valley Parkway, between Cedar Point Road and Shepard Lane in Rocky River Reservation in North Olmsted.
For more information on the School of the Wilds program, call 440-734-6660.