Gila River Indian Community Winter Bird Count – December 3, 2016

Hola, it’s been a long time. I guess I just didn’t feel like writing but I feel like writing again. So here goes…

I had a lovely day at the Gila River Indian Community’s annual Winter Bird Count. We started the morning at the Komatke Chevron Station near the southwest corner of South Mountain in Phoenix. We birded at a waste water treatment area for a while and saw lots of waterfowl. Some included northern shoveler, ruddy duck, cinnamon teal, American coot, and mallard. After that we birded at several open fields that either had alfalfa or were vacant.

Our group leader was a man named Charles from the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), there were a couple of families that I think live at the GRIC, as well as some employees from the GRIC. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing how excited the kids were to see some of the different birds and then the cultural event that occurred after birding in the morning.

The event after birding included members of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Liberty Wildlife Rescue Center showing off birds that weren’t able to be released and were being used for educational purposes, a bird-feeder making station, a sustainability table, and an excellent burrito lunch. Everyone was happy and the GRIC performed awesome song and dance.

The performances included a person who was singing a song in native language with a maraca in his hand while the girls, dressed in beautiful dresses, semi-danced and followed each other in a circle while carrying what looked like hand-made Native American plates and streamers. It was really wonderful. After that  community members sang a song in the center of the square while tapping on a box with long sticks. The girls then came around and took the hand of community members and guests and brought them into a circle that formed by people holding hands and semi-dancing around the singing community members.

Gila River Indian Community Cultural Center, Winter Bird Count Event, December 3, 2016

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