Great Backyard Bird Count offers winter family fun
Families seeking a fun, easy and free activity that helps bird conservation, look no further than the 10th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.Parents and teachers can help open children’s eyes to a new world of natural wonders from Feb. 16-19, during the bird count sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.People of all ages, and of all levels of experience, are invited to join this event which spans all of the United States and Canada. They simply count the highest number of each species seen during an outing or a sitting and enter their tally on the Web site at http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc.”We are encouraging people who have never done so before to go outside and count birds,” said Paul Green, Audubon’s director of Citizen Science. “By submitting their counts online, birdwatchers can quickly see how the dots they put on the map form patterns that tell new stories about the birds that share the world in which we live, including our own backyards and parks.””The Great Backyard Bird Count is a community celebration of birds, birding, and nature,” said Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “We often fail to notice how rich our surroundings are, but counting birds, even for just 15 minutes, is not only educational – it can provide a lasting source of enjoyment, turning a daily walk into a treasure hunt.”Last year, participants submitted more than 60,000 checklists – and reported 7.5 million birds overall and 623 different species. Together, the 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. The information is used to track bird populations and to better inform conservation efforts.Participants who want to hone their bird-watching skills can learn more from the Web site, which offers identification tips and a multimedia guide to 500 bird species. People can also submit photos to an online gallery showcasing the dazzling array of winter birds found during the GBBC. Competitions add another element of fun, including a prize drawing for everyone who submits a checklist, a photo contest, and the coveted “checklist champ” title for towns, states, and provinces with the highest participation.The Great Backyard Bird Count is sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited. For more information, visit http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc.
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