‘Twas shortly before the New Year when all through the halls of UNCW, not a student was stirring, except those poor, bleary-eyed grad students of course. The field gear was hung in the closet with care, in hopes that the next banding season soon would be here. The banding data was nestled all snug in the filing cabinet (and reported to the Bird Banding Lab), while visions of long-term trends and statistics dance in our heads….. Phew! I’m glad I got that out my system! But it is true – the end of the year is when things finally quiet down, and Dr. Jamie, John, our banding teams, and I are able to take the time to really appreciate the hard work and dedication of PBOT volunteers, partners, and Friends. Every sighting report we receive from our volunteers adds to our understanding of the distribution and habits of Painted Buntings, and PBOT volunteers who report multiple Spot Sightings or several Timed Sighting sessions each day are helping us determine long-term and site-specific trends. And of course, those of you lucky enough to observe and report one of our banded buntings are helping us track individuals throughout their life, which adds to our understanding of specific life characteristics. But the Painted Bunting Observer Team has become so much more than just a clearinghouse for sightings over the last couple of years – through Blog comments and our Flickr and Facebook pages, we have become a close-knit community dedicated to sharing stories, tips, neighborly advice, support, and commiseration about our endless devotion to this unique and near-threatened native bird… we have become a Painted Bunting family. So, my Painted Bunting family, we here at PBOT Headquarters wish you the merriest of holiday seasons and all the very best in the coming New Year!