One of the very first topics on my show when it began four years ago was the Great Backyard Bird Count. I’ve been in love with this project ever since! This global effort, promoted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, focuses on encouraging citizen scientists to count birds in one place for 15 minutes. Counts are received for a 4-day period in February each year, and the findings are particularly helpful to experts tracking migratory patterns, looking at changing populations, and observing how birds are affected by environmental changes. This year’s count takes place February 16-19, 2024!
Anybody can participate! Apps, bird books and websites have made it easier than ever to correctly identify birds. There’s a certain calming effect in watching birds, and seeing their many colors is so satisfying, especially against a bare, winter landscape.
Signing up for free and submitting a count is easily done in one of three ways: by downloading the Merlin Bird ID app, the eBird Mobile app, or by signing on to ebird.org on a computer. Find out more about participating HERE.
The eBird mobile app has less bells and whistles, so for an experienced birder, this one is straight-forward to use. For one not as familiar with the sights and sounds of birds, the Merlin Bird ID app allows the user to identify a bird by “answering a few simple questions, uploading a photo, recording a bird singing, or exploring birds by region.” The Sound ID feature can pick up a bird’s song from feet away and direct the user to a narrow list of possible candidates.
Grab the family and sit out in the yard this weekend, or join a friend at the local park to start a checklist.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with nature!
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