By Ken Sikora:
“My honeybees foraged through the flowers for the nectar this past spring and summer. Now the birds get their turn to feed on the seed heads of the same flower over the winter. Everything will be mowed down come spring so the sun can reach the ground and start a new cycle of growth.”
The Great Backyard Bird Count
February 12-15, 2021
Participating is easy, fun to do alone, or with others, and can be done anywhere you find birds. Simply watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over the four days, February 12-15, 2021, and tell us what you see.
Pick the best tool to use for sharing your bird sightings:
- If you are new to the count, try using the Merlin Bird ID app.
- If you have participated in the count before, try eBird Mobile app or enter your bird list on the eBird website (desktop/laptop).
- If you are participating as a group, see instructions for Group Counting.
STEPS TO PARTICIPATE
First, register. Registration is free, and there is a huge amount of information about birds and the upcoming bird count on the GBBC website.
Second, plan to spend at least 15 minutes counting birds from February 17-20, 2017. You can count as long as you wish, for as many days as you wish. There are checklists available for you to download from the GBBC website to use to record your information. You can count birds from your backyard or front yard, a nearby park, public garden, or nature center. Or, you can count from the local schools, hiking trails, beaches, and your cabin—anywhere birds are found.
Third, submit your information to GBBC. If you’re not sure you can identify all the birds you might see, plan to take good notes — size, shape, color, or unusual markings. Or you can try to snap a picture for later ID. Note: Photos can be uploaded to the GBBC website along with your checklists to create an illustrated list.
Data entry remains open until March 1, but the information you enter should only be from the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count.
To register, go to The 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count.
For more details and hints on entering your data on the computer, download the HOW TO COUNT THE BIRDS: Easy as 1-2-3!
Why Should We Count Birds?
Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are located. Counting birds can be a challenge. Birds are dynamic. They are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in just a short time.
Scientists use the information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, to gather what is happening to bird populations. The longer this data is collected, the more meaningful the data becomes at helping scientists research. As populations of birds change, those fluctuations may indicate shifts in pollution levels, climate change, habitat loss, migration timing, etc. How will birds be affected by habitat loss, pollution, disease, climate, and other environmental changes? How will you change?
The e-mail photo is by Wolfgang Wander.
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