Thursday, February 13, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count

black-capped chickadee
Looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Even if your garden is covered in piles of snow or ice, you can still participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) February 14-17.  This annual event originated in 1998 as a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.  It's a citizen based effort to count and identify wild birds.

All it takes is 15 minutes of observation, any day of the event, any place in the world.  Then submit your information and follow the tally.  The GBBC website has everything you need to get started, including lists of birds that you are most likely to see in your location.  Need help with bird ID? There's an app for that!

It's fun, it's easy, and it's an important means of collecting data about bird populations and the world we live in.

Last, but not least, some great facts — myth busters! — from the GBBC e-newsletter:
  • Feeding hummingbirds does not stop them from migrating. In fact, leaving your feeders out longer may help provide that last bit of energy they need to make their migration successful.
  • Birds do not choke on peanut butter, but you can add some grit or corn meal to yours to keep it from clumping just in case.
  • Birds’ feet are not likely to stick to cold metal perches.
  • Birds do not become dependent on bird feeders.
  • Birds do not die from eating uncooked rice.

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