January 17, 2012
Taking off from a dead tree limb strong enough to hold two sitting golden eagles, the eagle on the right takes flight to check out the lake for a possible early morning meal.
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The count is in — the Payson Christmas Bird Count, that is. Since 1900 the National Audubon Society has conducted bird counts throughout North America. Local birding enthusiasts conducted their eighth annual count on Dec. 30. There was beautiful, calm weather when the 17 participants headed out to spend the day identifying and counting all the birds they saw or heard in and around Payson. The good weather contributed to a record 99 species being observed as well as a record 4,376 birds. The count is a census of the birds found during a 24-hour period in a designated circle 15 miles in diameter. The Payson count circle is centered a little northwest of town.