Earlier this week, I told you about efforts to protect the exotic pangolin, which is being hunted out of existence. But this weekend, we all have a chance to help our some creatures closer to home (literally)–the our feathered friends in our own backyards!
For nearly 20 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada have sponsored The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). GBBC was one of the first and largest citizen-science projects, as it asks people all over the world to collect data on wild birds and submit it to the project. By hearing from ordinary citizens what birds they see in their vicinity, scientists can approximate the size and relative health of the current bird population. They use the data to help study how factors like climate change, weather patterns, deforestation, and other issues are affecting our birds.
It is really easy to participate. All you do is take a minimum of 15 minutes and count the highest number of birds of each species you see at one time and submit your findings online at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/get-started/. If you aren’t an expert, the website has lots of resources to help you figure out what birds you might be seeing. Plus, I know our local parks and wildlife organizations are organizing several public education and participation programs all weekend long, and I’m sure many other communities are doing that as well.
There are also associated competitions, like a photo contest and friendly competitions to see which communities upload the largest numbers of counts. And it is a great family project, because children and their sharp eyes often find birds we more “mature” counters might miss.
It runs from Friday, February 17-Monday, February 20, 2017, so there is plenty of time and flexibility to get involved. And while this may not be true all over the world, in the Triangle area, the weather is supposed to be sunny and mild. So this is a perfect excuse to get out, enjoy nature, and support a major collaborative science project. Win-win for us all!
Our birds give us so much, from eating our pests to beautifying our landscapes to welcoming us in the morning with their cheery songs. Can’t we all spend at least half an hour this weekend to give back to them?
Note: The banner above was provided for promotional purposes by The Great Backyard Bird Count. Please visit http://www.birdcount.org for more information.