The birds are back
They’re back. It is signaled to those listening with a single coarse call that soon will turn into a symphony of thousands. That first call feels like the loudest. That scratchy bark of sound can trigger a half dozen people to put down shovels, hammers, and notebooks and raise their eyes to the sky searchingly. It is like the gun shot at the start of a race. Biologist start your PDAs, the birds are back.
There are thousands of birds on colony now, although still a fraction of the numbers to come. The air is crackling with intensity both in and outside the observation blinds. Birds and humans alike are entering a season of little sleep, long days, and with luck; soaring achievements. The new crew members are busy soaking it in. Excited stories of the commonplace behaviors that will soon be watched with a knowing smile are told throughout the day as these biologists acclimate themselves to life as a Caspian tern voyeur.
- Lauren Reinalda, Field Crew Leader, Columbia River Estuary