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1.  Your birding bum bird alert compiler is compelled to decamp once
more.  There will be no "official" Missouri Bird Alerts until
mid-January.  Please be very specific as to location and directions to
all the zooties you report during this hiatus.  Also, many people will
appreciate your updates on the Clark's Nutcracker and Snowy Owl.

2.  Did you see Patrick Harrison's message about using the FRS Radio as
he approached the nutcracker site?  In recent forays to other states
I've had opportunity to compare radio usage.  In Colorado we had to call
Kansas to contact someone else in Colorado--couldn't even talk to folks
we could see across the lake.  Our use of the radios in Missouri is
better than in most places.  This makes us a friendlier and more
effective birding community.

So, (a) if you already have a radio, please remember to take it and turn
it on, even when you are going to a familiar site--the guy coming behind
you may never have been there before (or may find the bird and want to
tell you where it is).  Searching a patch of woods is easier when people
divide up and can maintain audio contact.
(b) I just purchased one more radio at Wal-mart.  It is a Motorola
Talkabout T5400.  It was only $18.95.  The same model was $29.95 at
K-Mart.  The only drawback is that it has a built-in beeper tone that
sounds when you complete your transmission and release the talk-key
(this is heard on the other end, too).  Remember, when you buy one of
these, all you really need is 14 Channels with 38 Codes (sub-channels).
Some brands use AAA and some use AA batteries.  Most folks go with the
AA.

3.  The Barksdale Hypothesis:  If one rare bird is found, another (of
the same species) is probably around.  So, you should be checking pines
for the other Clark's Nutcracker(s).
Edge's Corollary: If one rare bird is found, another (different species)
from the same region/habitat is likely to be around.  Ergo, you should
be looking for Gray Jay, Black-billed Magpie, rosy finches, Varied
Thrush, Lewis's Woodpecker, Lesser Goldfinch.  Note:  Experience
demonstrates that the likelihood is increased when the Bird Alert
compiler leaves the state.

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