|Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 13-16|
What mid-winter activity is fun, easy, free, and helps bird conservation? What can parents and teachers do with children that connects them to a whole new world of natural wonders? This February, the 10th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, will give everyone a chance to discover the birds in their neighborhood and "Count for the Record."
During Feb. 13-16, people of all ages, from beginners to experts, are invited to join this event which spans all of the United States and Canada. Participants can take part wherever they are - at home, in school yards, at local parks or wildlife refuges. Observers simply count the highest number of each species they see during an outing or a sitting, and enter their tally on the Great Backyard Bird Count Web site at www.birdcount.org.
Visitors to the Web site can also compare their sightings with results from other participants, as checklists pour in from throughout the United States and Canada. Together, these counts offer a real-time snapshot of the numbers and kinds of birds that people are finding, from boreal chickadees in Alaska to anhingas in Florida.
Last year, participants submitted a record-breaking 85,000 checklists. In 2008 participants documented the huge southward movement of northern finches from Canada, as well as the expanding ranges of Eurasian collared-dove and the red-bellied woodpecker. Northern bobwhite and eastern meadowlark numbers continued to decline. Unusual sightings included two birds that rarely leave the Arctic. An Arctic loon was sighted in California and an ivory gull was sighted in South Dakota.
Participants who want to hone their bird watching skills can learn more from the Great Backyard Bird Count Web site, which offers identification tips and access to photos, sounds, maps, and natural history information on more than 500 bird species. People can also submit photos to an online gallery showcasing the dazzling array of winter birds found during the GBBC.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free event, sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited. For more information, visit www.birdcount.org.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth's biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds.
Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.
The mission of the Dakota Science Center is to encourage lifelong curiosity and fascination with science in children, parents, teachers, and the community through discovery, exploration and interaction.