Count Birds February 18-21

Get involved!  This is a worthy scientific task that schoolkids in particular should get involved in. Bird recognition is fun and counting the flocks living in your part ofthe country is a great way to get out in the weather to do something useful.

There are plenty of field guidesand you can soon learn to identify the obvious types.

If you are lucky, you may end upwith a great hobby for live.

Happy birding!

Great Backyard Bird Count Asks for Your Help

Count Birds February 18-21 

February 8, 2011—The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is comingup February 18–21, 2011. People of all ages and skill levels are needed tocount birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other locations across the United States and Canada. Simply tally birds for atleast 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go and enter the highest number of eachspecies seen at any one time. 

Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and BirdStudies Canada,the count provides an instantaneous snapshot of birdlife across the continentfor all to see. Anyone can watch as the tallies come in at Organizers hope to receive morethan 100,000 checklists during the event, with tallies of more than 600 birdspecies in all. 

Last year’s participants reported more than 1.8 million American Robins,as well as rarities such as the first Red-billed Tropicbird in thecount’s history.

“Whether people observe birds in backyards, parks, or wilderness areas,the Great Backyard Bird Count is an opportunity to share their results at ,”said Judy Braus, Audubon’s vice president of Education and Centers. “It’s funand rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels--and it gets peopleoutside!”  

“When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we candetect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year,” said Dr.Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab ofOrnithology.

“While this is the depths of winter in most of Canada and only thehardiest birds brave the cold, understanding of trends in the distribution andabundance at this time of year is important as well,” said Dr. George Finney,president of Bird Studies Canada.

Data from the Great Backyard Bird Count can provide an early signal ofchanges in bird populations. Past counts showed a drop in reportsof American Crows after outbreaks of West Nile virus in 2003, a finding consistent with studies showingcrow populations declined by 50–75% in some states. Maps from the count havealso captured the paths of migrating Sandhill Cranes and recorded thedramatic spread Eurasian Collared-Doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the1970s, the species was reported in just 8 states during the 1999 GBBC. A decadelater, it was reported in 39 states and Canadian provinces.

“I have joined the Great Backyard Bird Count for the past three years and amreally looking forward to doing it again,” said participant Kathy Bucher of Exira, Iowa. “Ireally enjoy nature and bird watching. My mother and I share updates on thebirds we see. It’s a fun hobby to share with a loved one!” 

For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, The count also includes a photocontest and a prize drawing for participants who enter their bird checklistsonline.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Editors: Visit the GBBC News Room for high-resolution images and yourstate’s top-10 lists from the 2010 count. Please also inquire about possibleinterviews with local participants.


• Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2451 (EasternStandard Time),

• Delta Willis, Audubon, (212) 979-3197 (Eastern Standard Time),

• Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada, (250) 493-3393 (PacificStandard Time),

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institutioninterpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research,education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’swebsite
Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, natureand the environment that supports us all. Our national network ofcommunity-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, andadvocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life inconservation action to protect and restore the natural world.

Bird Studies Canada administersregional, national, and international research and monitoring programs thatadvance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds andtheir habitats. We are Canada'snational body forbird conservation and science, and we are anon-governmental charitable organization. 

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