The Mid-Winter Bird Count is timed to sample the local bird population in the dead of winter, when we can be pretty sure all the southerly migrant birds have left and northerly migration hasn’t yet begun. The counts are held in January or early February in some of the Maryland counties. We’ve been fortunate most years recently that the weather has been reasonably cooperative but occasionally a count is postponed a week or so. Obviously, the birds aren’t as numerous as in the spring or fall, but birding can be rewarding at this time of year. Some species are not here during the warmer months, having, in some cases, moved from higher elevations. Others are surprises, not seen every year, when they “irrupt” from more northern climes, driven by some event such as extremely cold weather north of Maryland or food shortage or other conditions that may not be well understood. Snowy owls are the most recent dramatic species to be seen. For more information, please contact the mid-winter count coordinator or your local chapter to see if a count is held in your area. Otherwise, consider travelling further afield to join another chapter’s teams.