I am pleased to announce that the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held Friday, February 17th through Monday, Feb. 20th. We are all invited to participate in this worldwide four day count. It’s quite simple. For at least 15 minutes on one or any of the days of the count, simply count the number and kinds of birds you see. You can do it from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish. It is free, fun, and an easy way to engage your family in counting birds to create a “real time snapshot” of bird populations.
The famous Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society created the first online citizen-science project to collect valuable data about our wild bird populations. Last year there were participants from 130 countries counting over 5,600 species of birds. Wow! Scientists learn a lot by knowing where birds are. Bird populations are always changing.
Projects like the GBBC help scientists get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. How will climate change influence bird populations? How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years? How are bird diseases such as West Nile Virus affecting birds in different regions? As part of the Outdoor Learning Program (ODL) here at Friends, families are encouraged to participate during that weekend. I will get the kids jazzed up about it so be prepared!
You’ll need to first register online. The eBird website also has a wealth of other info. Enjoy the count. Gather with your family, binoculars and a bird book and count/identify the precious feathered friends. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this upcoming event.
This blog post was by Teacher Peter Manzelmann as part of an ongoing series of nature education articles.