This weekend we will be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count – a global bird watching project organized by the National Audobon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It is similar to the annual Christmas Bird Count sponsored by the National Audobon Society since 1900, but for this count you do not have to leave the house. It is easy to do with kids. Here is what you need to know:
What: Count the number of each species you see in your yard and submit your results to the Great Backyard Bird Count.
How: Get a printable data sheet here to record bird species and numbers. When the count starts you then create an account at this same website to submit your results.
Who: Anyone! Novice, expert, young, old, busy, not-so-busy.
When: Friday, February 15th through Monday, February 18th. You can pick one or all of those days for your observation. You can even choose the time of day and length of time – even if it’s just 15 minutes. It is very flexible!
Where: Your own yard!
Why: Scientists and bird enthusiasts need help in tracking the movements of birds. It is just too broad for any one person or organization to track. Here are some specific questions that can be answered by the collection of this data:
- How is the weather affecting bird movements?
- Are there any “irruptive” species, meaning species that shows up in large numbers some years and not others?
- How do migration patterns compare with the previous years?
- Are diseases like West Nile impacting populations in certain regions?
- What kind of species diversity is there in cities compared with rural areas?
Are you interested and want more information? Go directly to the Great Backyard Bird Count website.
Not a birder? I bet you know someone who watches birds, like a parent, grandparent or neighbor who would love to have you over. Call them up, bring over a box of donuts, and drink some coffee while you count birds for the sake of science. Birds are a great excuse to go visit loved ones. So go for it – I promise you’ll have fun.
Evan and I would love to know if you’re joining us – let us know in the comment section.