Friday, February 01, 2008

Great Backyard Bird Count

It is time once again for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! Audubon South Carolina will be counting again this year, including leading bird walks at the Francis Beidler Forest. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it is a terrific family activity. Although the beautiful Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) (Photo credit: Don Wuori) will not yet have returned from its southern vacation, there are plenty of interesting birds that often go unnoticed by the casual observer.

As a lead up to the GBBC, Audubon South Carolina has put together some lessons and activities that will help teachers, students and families learn about birds while addressing South Carolina curriculum standards (K-8) in science, language arts and mathematics. This information can be found on our website at Unfortunately, many school districts have aggressive firewall and internet blocking software, so our attempts to share this information do not get through or interested individuals are blocked from accessing our site from school. You can help the birds and environmental education by sharing this information and by participating in the count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event (Feb. 15-18, 2008) 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 in this hands-on science, from beginning bird watchers to experts.

Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America? According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3 million birders in the United States alone, and this number continues to grow! You can join in the science and fun!

Observers do NOT need to be expert birders. Observation time can be as little as 15 minutes and can occur in any setting (school, living room, backyard, neighborhood, beach, forest, or sites listed below). Observers only report the birds that they can identify, which can be as few as one individual bird. However, the cumulative data collected across North America is valuable to ornithologists and the data collection itself allows students to participate in real-world science.

List of bird viewing spots in Lowcountry:
Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest for owls, woodpeckers, songbirds
Pitt Street Bridge (in Mt. Pleasant) for shorebirds, rails, loons, grebes.
Huntington Beach State Park for shorebirds, sea ducks, gannets, songbirds
Santee National Wildlife Refuge for waterfowl, geese, bald eagles, songbirds
Folly Beach County Park for shorebirds, sea ducks, gannets
Bear Island & Donnelley WMA for waterfowl, bald eagles, egrets/herons, wood storks, white pelicans
Congaree National Park for owls, woodpeckers, songbirds

Let us know if you counted birds in our great backyard!


Heather said...

Ahhh, but you never know, last year in January I was surprised to find a male painted bunting showing up at my feeder! I ended up getting in contact with a great group out of UNCW about him, "Painted Bunting Observer Team." I thought I'd pass along the link in case you hadn't heard of them and found it of interest.

Sara Green said...

I am participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count from my own certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat in Irmo, SC. My results are posted on my blog at:

Sara Green
SC Wildlife Federation