So you probably are aware that this Saturday is Valentine’s Day–the day we set aside for love and friendship…. well how many of you love watching the birds? Do you put out bird feed each winter and watch with great pleasure as the birds gather to devour the easy meal? If you enjoy watching birds, then this assignment could be for you!
This is the weekend for the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which has been going on for more than 100 years. If you are unfamiliar with this, lucky for you I’m going to tell you how it works. If you already know, well then good for you, maybe you want to think about participating.
Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this event takes place this weekend, from today–Friday the 13th through Monday. No special equipment or wisdom is needed, just a window looking outside into your yard, whatever that might look like. You can live in the city or in the country, in a house or an apartment, it doesn’t matter. People from all over the world record the kinds and numbers of birds they see for periods of at least 15 minutes, and then enter their sightings on the website www.BirdCount.org. The information helps track changes in bird populations on a large scale and provides scientists with invaluable information that would be difficult to obtain without the willingness of so many volunteers.
Many people wonder if they should participate, thinking in dismay, “But I’m not an expert birder! What if I get one wrong?”
It’s okay if you are not an expert!
In fact, most people who participate are just regular citizens like you who enjoy watching the birds. If you can identify most of the common birds that visit your yard, you are on the right track. Here is a great site that can help you with identification.
My local paper, the Citizen Times, in an article about the Bird Count stated, “Bird watchers from 135 countries participated in the 2014 count, documenting nearly 4,300 species on more than 144,000 bird checklists.” That’s a lot of information!
So for the love of birds, consider participating this year! It’s free and won’t take much time. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and get comfortable, you never know what you might see as you sit watching out the window… not a bad way to spend a few minutes, especially when it’s cold and windy outside, and warm and cozy inside.
If you need more details on how to participate, Click HERE .
Have fun! And happy Friday the 13th!