Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual four-day event that, “engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent” begins this Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21. Anyone can participate in the survey, from beginning bird watchers to experts.

My homeschool group started preparing for the count last Friday morning at our weekly learning cooperative with a “Get to Know Your Backyard Birds” workshop, taught by my mom, a lifelong bird lover. The kids learned tips for identifying birds starting with size, color, markings and song. Everyone was also given complimentary bags of bird seed with guidelines for good feeder locations along full-color posters depicting common eastern North American birds donated by Wild Birds Unlimited.

The GBBC is free to participate in and takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the four-day event. Counting helps determine how each species is doing year by year, how weather is affecting flocks and if conservation efforts are needed for a species receiving an alarmingly low count for the year.

February is also national bird feeding month, as it is the toughest time for birds to find food in the wild. For more information about The Great Backyard Bird Count, visit

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