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GOLFING AND BIRDING

May 1, 2014

Sarah birdingGOLFING AND BIRDING

 

A birding friend of ours has a golfer for a partner, so everywhere he goes golfing, she gets to go birding. It works out rather nicely. Except that when she sees a new bird their play is disrupted by her jumping up and down and shouting “YES!”

So there we were a few years ago, flipping through the channels on a weekend in April and came across that mega golf tournament, “The Masters”, being played in Augusta, Ga. It looked so beautiful – huge trees all new leafy green, hundreds of azaleas all in flamboyant shades of pink and rose, and the hushed crowd alongside a green all watching intently as the contestants struggled to get balls into holes.

We watched for a few minutes and suddenly realized that it was so quiet on the course, we were actually hearing birds calling in the distance. A Carolina Wren was making a rolling, trilling “teakettle, teakettle” song. No one looked u all eyes were on the hole and the golfer. There it was again – “teakettle, teakettle”. Couldn’t those people hear it? Why was no one lifting their binoculars to get a look at the beautiful little stripey bird sitting on one of the azaleas? The golfer’s eyes never left the ball. Both he and the wren and the crowd were concentrating too hard.

Phil said, “Wasn’t that a Carolina Wren?” I said, “Don’t change the channel! I hear a mockingbird!”

So there we were, watching a golf tournament, keeping track of the birds we were hearing! It hasn’t always been this way on golf courses. Years ago, the goal in designing some golf courses was to concentrate on clearing out plants so the balls could fly smoothly, and using huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides to keep those greens green, and pouring thousands of gallons of water onto the courses to keep things hydrated.

Fortunately, there are now efforts between the United State Golf Association and Audubon International to “promote ecologically sound land management and the conservation of natural resources” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

See a complete description of the program in an article at http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5272

Briefly, the program, in which over 2,000 golf courses around the world are participating (according to their website), gives certification to golf courses in 6 categories – Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management. These efforts should “facilitate the implementation of environmental management practices that ensure natural resources are sustainably used and conserved.”

These are lofty goals and should be achievable. The Audubon International “Standard Environmental Management Practices” will help people “enhance the valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats that golf courses provide, improve efficiency, and minimize potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations . . .”

And give us more to listen to when we watch a golf game on TV!

 

 

 

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6 Comments
  1. Denise Clarey permalink

    Oh Ann! You capture my spirit and thrill my soul! We are going this coming Wednesday to a U.S. Open golf qualifying tournament in Westin Hills which is near Ft.Lauderdale. You betcha I will have binos, ipad(for my sound check when I can sneak a listen!) and trusty bird i.d. book all in tow! Love you my birdy Mentor!

  2. sarahdavis_dean@bellsouth.net permalink

    Great article. I read it aloud to Nate and Jenn in the car on my new I phone. Xo

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Joanne Anthony permalink

    I enjoyed reading your article. You certainly write with the same enthusiasm that you use in conversation! :-). joanne

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