Counting birds from the land for a good cause

One of the many highlights of my day is watching the dozens of birds that gather in my yard.  I tend to keep my eyes open and often find a large variety of birds on my way to work.  Bald Eagles, owls and many song birds grace my eyes throughout the year.  Recently my granddaughter and I compiled a  list of our sightings in our area as she participated in a bird watching contest.  Not much to my surprise, she did win the contest and ultimately her skills were enhanced.

This weekend especially, my grand daughter and I will be watching those birds and hopefully more, documenting what we observe.  We urge you to do the same.

Like thousands of Americans, we will be participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. From February 18 to 21, this mega-event asks Americans and Canadians to look out their windows for 15 minutes and log in the birds that they see. The Count seeks not just species but also numbers, all of which will create a massive database of bird populations across the country.

The Bird Count web site contains great information about what bird species you’re likely to find in your area, as well as links to local events. There’s also a photo contest and all kinds of information on feeding and identifying local birds.

You can also view interactive maps of previous years’ Bird Count data — all of which are great fun.

Why count birds this weekend? The information gleaned from all of this will help scientists to see how temperatures affect bird populations; see what invasive species are turning up where; and find out what species are experiencing declines.

So take some time over the next few days to count a few birds. The information you find in just 15 minutes will be invaluable.

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