I have been away this week. I am presently in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have come here to visit with friends, experience the unique culture and music of the area, and eat way too much. I have also snuck in a little birding, managing to add 2 birds to my life list (Barred Owl and Monk Parakeet).
In driving around the area, I came to the realization that this would be a very challenging place for Green Birding. There are actually a good number of birds within a reasonable distance, however being a large urban area the traffic is horrible. Also, the roads are in awful condition – lots of massive potholes.
This then made me realize what a great place Santa Barbara is for Green Birding. First, of course, there are plenty of birds. Given that Santa Barbara is bounded by both the ocean and the mountains, we have a wide range of habitats that attract a great variety of species. Second, getting around by bike is far less challenging than in many areas of the United States (but not as good as some others). Traffic is not too bad, there are bike lanes and bike paths, and the roads are in pretty good condition.
Also, the drivers are accustomed to bike traffic. This is hugely important. Most days that I am riding around the Santa Barbara area the instances of courtesy shown to me by automobile drivers far far outnumber rude or dangerous maneuvers.
I am looking forward to returning to my Green Big Year outings. In the meantime, for your entertainment, here is a photo of a Buff-bellied Hummingbird from New Orleans.