The photograph atop this post — a Common tern in flight with food near Fort McHenry — is one of many from the camera of Nico Sarbanes, the subject of my last column of 2022. I thought reporting on Nico’s year of birding in five Baltimore parks — he recorded more than 200 species — would be a good way to end 2022. Earnest birders like Nico keep us apprised of all the birds we cannot see, or hear, because most of us are busy doing other things.

There has been a lot of gloom about the declining bird populations of North America; the facts are quite depressing. The human epoch has not been kind to birds; some species are facing population collapse. There is plenty we humans can do to reverse, or at least stop, the downward spiral. But we have to appreciate what’s at stake first. And that’s what I take from Nico’s observations and his photography — that the many birds around us, seen and unseen (and sometimes only heard in the distance) are great gifts. We should never take for granted their beauty and song.

Nico Sarbanes, jazz trumpeter and law student, aims his camera at a rare Heerman’s Gull (dark brown) that visited Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in 2022. (Tim Carney)

2 thoughts on “A good year of birding in Baltimore parks

  1. I love birdwatching, feeding and providing fresh water for the birds in Winter. Taking part in the Great American Bird Count really opened my eyes to the steady decline in the bird population. I have been planting Native plants and taking out Invasives in our landscape for years. It seemed to increase the numbers of rare species for a while, but the numbers sadly have declined in the last few years. I have only seen one Baltimore Oriole, for example, in 50 plus years here in Harford County. I would remind everyone who loves birds, if you feed them, be sure to clean the feeders and the watering containers on a regular basis.
    Thank you for addressing this important topic in your columns.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I very much appreciate your always interesting columns – including this informative column setting out Nico Sarbanes’ activities / the status of birding / what needs to be done. As suggested, I did just make a donation to Cornell Lab….and would have given more were I not also continuing donations to different environment / nature conservation groups – including Audubon. Many to choose from.  If there are some organizations that you recommend over others, please let me know. Offhand comment:  I could get in trouble with my HMA for keeping full of seed a  bird feeder hanging on my condo balcony ceiling. Shh… Barbara Bond

    Liked by 1 person

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