|Acadian Flycatcher - Image by Mark Musselman|
Friday, February 03, 2012
Great Backyard Bird Count is in Two Weeks
The 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count
Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20.
Please join us!
The Great Backyard Bird Count is 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. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes or longer, if one wishes, on a single day or on each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.
Participants count birds anywhere for 15 minutes or longer during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. For example, if three robins are spotted in the yard, the count for robins would be three. Later, if a single robin is spotted in the yard, the count for robins would remain at three (most seen at one time) and not increase to four. Participants can report their counts by filling out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count website at http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/.
As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see. This is a tremendous opportunity for teachers to address science, social studies and math standards while helping scientists learn about birds in our hemisphere!
By knowing where the birds are, scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn much regarding the current state of birds. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.
The GBBC is a citizen-science project where everybody’s help, no matter how small, is valuable. Help make sure the birds from our community are well-represented in the count. It does not matter whether a report is for five species on a backyard feeder or during a walk through the neighborhood or for 25 species spotted during a day's outing to the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like. Submit a separate checklist for each new day. You can also submit more than one checklist per day if you count in other locations on that day.
2. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species that you see together at any one time. You may find it helpful to print out your regional bird checklist to get an idea of the kinds of birds you're likely to see in your area in February.
3. When you're finished, enter your results through the GBBC web page. The button marked "Enter Your Checklists!" will appear on the website home page beginning on the first day of the count. It will remain active until the deadline for data submission on March 1st.
Local Audubon South Carolina GBBC events:
Mark Musselman, education director at the Francis Beidler Forest, will be birding at various sites around Summerville on Day 1 (Friday, February 17th). The count will begin at the parking area near the tennis courts in Azalea Park at 8:30 a.m. Other stops may include the nature trail at Ashley Ridge High School, The Ponds community, and Middleton Place. Anyone can join him for all or part of the day, especially those looking to learn about birding or improve their bird identification skills. Anyone wishing to join this group or simply to follow the progress can check @TheSwampThing (http://twitter.com/#!/TheSwampThing) on Twitter. Though a pair of binoculars will be useful, only a healthy curiosity is required!