2017 Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place this weekend, February 17 – 20. The event was started in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. It was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.
Citizen Scientists Needed
The Backyard Bird Count is an opportunity for citizen scientists around the world to help researchers by spending a few minutes counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. It’s as easy as looking out your window for 15 minutes or going for a walk at a local park. People of all ages and skill levels can participate.
I’ve been participating in the count for quite a few years and this is the first time I can remember having spring-like weather for the entire weekend. Because it’s so pleasant, I’m out walking the trails instead of looking out my window and counting the birds in the backyard.
Spring Migration is About To Begin
The reason the count originated as a February event was to create a snapshot of the distribution of birds just before spring migration begin in March. Several years ago a change was made and the count went global, creating snapshots of birds wherever they are in February regardless of seasons across the hemispheres.
On my walk this morning I saw several Red-winged Blackbirds already scouting the prairie wetlands and calling out to defend their newly claimed territory. Females won’t arrive until next month.
Northern Cardinals and Song Sparrows were singing, House Sparrows were chattering, and the small pond had over 25 Mallards swimming around – a sure sign spring is near.
Want to Participate in the Count?
There’s still a few more days to count. Head on over to the GBBC start-up page and join in.
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