Identifying birds by sight is the easiest but also the least likely to occur when doing a point count in a forest. Among other data you have to estimate distance from you to the bird with an error of 10 yards at the point of detection. I could keep writing more and more specifics about how to point count but I don't think anyone would want to read it and honestly I am just to damn tired to list it all. We did see a moose on our way to Birch Hill, although i get the feeling I am the only one who thinks it was awesome!
Later on in the day, the main biologist and I went to Chena Hot Springs to attempt to qualify at the shotgun range. After just a few practice rounds we decided to go for the test. We loaded some 12 gauge shotguns with slugs powerful enough to kill a bear and let loose. First we were required to shoot on targets and make 3/3 shots within an 8x11 inch square... Not too hard. Then we had to hit at least 2/3 shots in the same square on a moving target and I didn't miss a single shot! That was a serious confidence boost. Although guns still really aren't my thing, If a Grizzly Bear is running at me I would absolutely let a few rounds loose. Well now I am certified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Designated Shooter, which means i am allowed to defend both myself and a group of people from danger. It is the highest rank they have for field crew although I really-really-really hope that it never gets put to the test.
That is about enough "red-necking" around for now and I am moving my sights, no pun intended, back to the birds.