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The Calling Tree

by Robin Tuck
November 1997 (no. 1)

Julie got a call about a rare bird, a Pectorial Sandpiper at Lincoln Beach, so she grabbed me and we hustled out to see it. We didn’t find out about it until 6:30 p.m., and since this is the fall season and the days are getting shorter, we had only 45 minutes of daylight left. By the time we got there, the light had faded, so we started looking fast. We did find it, after 15 minutes of looking. By then, the only way we could see was in the car headlights. I could not believe how that sandpiper stayed in the light beam while we made sure of it’s identification.

Apparently, the sandpiper migrated on that night for we were the last to see it. Several birders looked the next day and came up empty-handed.

This event pointed out how important the calling tree is, and how important it is to get the word out as soon as possible. Migrating birds are truly a matter of "here today, gone tomorrow."

I was speaking to one of the birders who did not see the Pectorial Sandpiper on my ham radio (surprisingly, I am not the only birder who enjoys radio) and suggested to him that he call Julie and get added to the calling tree. This is a good idea for all of you that want to be notified when a rare bird comes around. Other birders will probably not notify you if they don’t know you want to know. Joining the calling tree helps that.

Of course, the calling tree does no good if sighting news does not get reported. So if you see a bird that is out of the ordinary, call either Junice Markham (373-2487) or Julia Tuck (377-8084) and they will start the calling tree in motion.

Now, of course, the calling tree is a tree. It needs callers to call others, so if you get asked to be a part of the tree, do your part so it will work. In fact, call the others assigned to you, then hustle out the door to see it yourself.

The saddest words heard at our meetings are "Gee, I wish I had known."