By Jim Bredy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pilot biologist
WOW, Time Flies By, And So Do We! You Blink And You Will Be 60!
As I sit here in my home in the mountains near Albuquerque, NM waiting to depart, it is hard to believe that I have been flying surveys in Canada for portions of four decades. I started out in 1988 as a skinny “brown hair” and am now a little bit heavier “grey hair”. Some of my friends and flying associates are no longer here, such as Ray Bentley, Thom Lewis, and Bob Heath. I feel fortunate and blessed to have been able to participate for this prolonged period of time with so many fine people. The Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (BPOP for short) is the largest coordinated wildlife survey of any kind in the world.
I have watched different types of weather patterns over the years but one constant remains. No matter how soon we want to arrive and start the BPOP, we are not in charge. It looks like a cold snowy period is now going to arrive in Southern Alberta this weekend, and delay what we had planned as a May 06 start to the survey. Southern Alberta had a variable weather pattern over the fall winter and spring. A moist weather pattern in the fall and early winter, gave way to overall drier conditions in the late winter and spring. Only time will tell what the conditions are really like, until we start the survey. Attached are some links to web pages, and some precipitation maps, that detail the weather last fall through spring. We will start the survey, when the weather allows it, which will not necessarily be when we want to start.
I just turned 60 years of age last month. I hope to have a few more years of participating in this wonderful occupation and career. I do not want to call it a job, because it is not a job, if one loves what they do. If you blink, you will be 60! Believe me, it happens that fast. So get out there and enjoy this wonderful outdoor world of ours, while you still can!
Get more information about the 2014 BPOP Survey and other waterfowl surveys at Flyways.us