LOOKING FOR ME THIS LONG WEEKEND? I’ll be counting birds (and I hope that Mr. Ruffed Grouse of last week, like the one above, will come calling again). The Great Backyard Bird Count began at 7 o’clock this morning for a four-day run through the 20th. Here’s how you can help give researchers a better snapshot of this year’s winter birds in this important “citizen science” project:
I’m particularly fascinated to see how the results compare this year in areas like mine that are having a non-winter. Will the same cast of feathered February characters be recorded?
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a collaboration among Cornell Lab of Ornithology the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. All you have to do is count birds at whatever location you choose (home, a local park, or maybe in the cornfield and woodland edge across the road–which is looking good to me). Counts are not limited to your backyard.
First, download a list of the birds that could potentially be sighted in your area at this time of year (search by town or zip code here). Plan to count at a particular location for at least 15 minutes, on at least one of the days of the count (which runs four days, through the 20th). More is better, of course, but every submitted count helps. Tally the highest number of each species you see during the time you watch. Enter your count(s) on the tally page on the GBBC website here. You can look through the results–even by species or a particular location, it’s that detailed–here.
Remember: Ornithologists can’t do this work without us. Do consider adding your count to the project this weekend. I keep up with bird news by subscribing to the Cornell Lab of O email newsletter (this was today’s issue); you can subscribe, too, at this link.