DECEMBER NATURE HAPPENINGS
• Christmas Bird Count is this month, December 14 – January 5, 2019. Check below for local Audubon organizations locations and dates.
• Watch for Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks feeding on birds in your backyard throughout the winter.
• Hawks and other raptors are still migrating through the area. Make travel interesting by counting the number of raptors perching in trees while traveling the interstate highways.
• Project FeederWatch continues, http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw
• Tundra Swans arrive this month at local bodies of water. Check out Lake Frederick and Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve for these northern visitors.
• Watch for other late waterfowl migrants such as Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls, Common Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and Common Goldeneyes at Lake Frederick and Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve.
• Purple Finches, Junco's and Pine Siskins can be seen at feeders with annual irruptions. All of these birds love fresh nyjer and sunflower seeds.
• Bald Eagles arrive from the North and nest-building begins around bodies of water.
• Snowy Owl sightings are predicted to increase again this winter due to increased breeding activity in the North and current low lemming populations. Check recent sightings at: www.ebird.org/home
• Great Horned Owls are pairing up this month - listen for their "who" calls. They will begin nesting in January and February.
• This is a great time to teach chickadees and titmice to feed from your hand.
• Fox and Gray Squirrels' first of two mating seasons will begin this month ending in February. Need a squirrel nesting box?
• Reindeer in Northern Norway are building their body fat supplies for their annual sledding trek on December 24th. Only eight of the fittest will be selected. Norwegian news sources stated, "... they are in excellent shape this year and should make all their designated stops in a timely fashion." Parents, the Reindeer progress will be tracked by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD at: http://www.noradsanta.org/
• December 7, New Moon
• December 7-9, Wings over Water Wildlife Festival, Outer Banks, NC. https://www.wingsoverwater.org/
• December 13 - 14, Geminids Meteor Shower peaks. The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor shower of the year. This is the one major shower that provides good activity prior to midnight. The Geminids are often bright and intensely colored.
• December 15, Potomac Valley Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Charles Town, WV http://www.potomacaudubon.org/
• December 16, Blandy Bird Count and Family Festival, Boyce, VA http://www.virginia.edu/blandy
• December 16, Manassas-Bull Run Audubon Christmas Bird Count http://audubonva.org/
• December 21, the Winter Solstice will occur, also known as the shortest day of the year.
• December 22, Full Moon, this is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the "Long Nights Moon" by Native American or the "Cold Moon".
• December 24, Christmas Eve, WBU Closes 4 PM ~ Merry Christmas to all our Customers!
• December 25, Christmas Day, WBU Closed spread some bird seed on your doorstep Christmas morning for Good Luck in 2018!
• December 31, New Years Eve, WBU Closes 4 PM ~ Thank You for another great year of bringing "People and Nature Together"!
INTERESTING HISTORICAL DATES
• December 2, 1970, Richard Nixon signs an Executive Order establishing the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.
• December 26, 1935, Shenandoah National Park was open to the public.
• December 28, 1972, The Endangered Species Act went into effect.