Three years ago, Bob Friedrichs looked at a map and noticed no one was counting the birds located at the confluence of the Lavaca and Navidad rivers, so he decided to do something about it.
He formed the Jackson-Calhoun Counties Christmas Bird Count with the hope of one day making it as successful as a count along the Colorado River.
Now, Friedrichs is asking others to join him in participating in an effort more than a century old to gauge the health of birds and the world they inhabit. People do this by counting as many species of birds as they can during a day in a 15-mile radius.
For people who already have experience naming the species of birds they see, this is a chance for them to add new species to their lists, he said. For people who are less experienced, this is a chance to gain more experience and more friends.
“We have roles for all. They can drive and learn that way because if you’re the person responsible for finding and identifying the birds, you sometimes miss them if you’re watching the road like you should be,” Friedrichs said.
Friedrichs, who retired from Chevron in 2016, will also lead the 41st annual Victoria Christmas Bird Count and participate in a handful of other counts in Texas. The Texas Master Naturalist said people love to do this despite holiday stress because it’s rewarding and brings out their competitive side.
He predicted that this year participants will see a red-breasted nuthatch, a species of bird that sometimes experiences a population boom and flies farther south.
“They normally spend most of their time in the mountains and conifers,” he said.
Friedrichs said he hoped the weather would dry up soon, though.
“We’ve had a lot of rain recently, which might limit the counters’ ability to access some of the habitat. I’m not really concerned about whether the birds are there, just whether we can get to them or not,” he said.