For the birds. . .

December14 seems to be quite the day for birds. First of all, it is the beginning of what is known as Halcyon Days, a period of calm and relative warmth during the cold of winter.

The origin of the phrase comes from Roman mythology, when Alcyone (or Halcyon) daughter of the wind god Aeolus, fell in love with a mortal sailor, Ceyx. Ceyx was drowned during a storm, and Alcyon dove in after him and disappeared.

The gods were touched and decided to transform the two of them into birds so they could always be together in flight, safely above the rough seas.  Aeolus agreed to maintain the seas calm for a two-week period each year, enabling Halcyone and Ceyx to nest on the water and lay eggs.

December14 is also the commencement of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count(December 14 – January 5,) celebrating its 119th year in 2018. The ACBC is an early winter bird census conducted by thousands of volunteers and is one of the few large pools of information for ornithologists and conservation biologists to understand how the birds are faring over time.

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