For the birds: the Great Backyard Bird Count February 14-17th

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fox Sparrow using bird bath with heater
Photo by Christine Southwick
By Christine Southwick

Would you like to help count local birds as part of a national study?

The really neat thing about participating in a Great Backyard Bird Count is that you can stay in your yard if you want to, and you can count for as little as fifteen minutes just one of those days, or you can count as long as you want for as many of the days as you want.

Volunteers at the Great Backyard
Bird Count
Photo courtesy PSBO
The goal of this count is to get as many bird reports as possible from all over the country for a spring snapshot of birds throughout the USA. The more people who report the birds they see in their backyards, or in any other clearly identified locations, during those four days, the more real the snapshot.

This tabulated bird count really helps ornithologists and environmentalists form accurate counts of current populations of many bird species, and where they were found the spring of 2014. By comparing these yearly spring counts with other spring counts, and the annual Christmas counts, ornithologists have been able to study movements of species known for nomadic movements (these movements are called invasive); and been able to follow the movements of both populous and scarce species. By having the count taken the same days throughout the states, low counts are given more credence since it can be shown that missing flocks weren’t just somewhere else.

Afraid you might not know how to identify enough birds? Or how to send in the data?

Never fear — the locally-based Puget Sound Bird Observatory(PSBO) is leading a progressive backyard bird count Saturday Feb 15th as part of the national “Great Backyard Bird Count”.

Spotted Towhee on feeder
Photo by Christine Southwick
Come see how three different yards use plants, water and feeders to attract birds, and learn how to sign into eBird to report your sightings. There’s an optional trip to a marsh (with boardwalks) near Mill Creek.

Go to the Puget Sound Bird Observatory website for more information, and to sign up.


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