Friday, February 13, 2009

Get Your Count On

The 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count has begun! This afternoon, just keeping a watchful eye on my feeders, I recorded 35 visitors in only twenty minutes; American goldfinches, house finches, pine siskins, and a pair of somewhat lonely house sparrows. The count continues through Monday (February 16), and participants can submit as many different checklists as they need to record the birds they see in different areas and at different times. When you record birds, there are other observations you will need to make for an accurate report, including:
  • Time and length of observation
  • Number of participants counting
  • Snow depth (if applicable)
  • Location type
  • Habitat type

You enter your geographic location by zip code or city and state, and that generates an easy to fill in list of species in the area, grouped by type of bird. You simply fill in the totals of each species you observed (no need to enter zeros for those you did not see), and you've successfully added to a wealth of birding research.

In 2008, I observed a grand total of 33 birds during the bird count; I hope to at least triple that number this year now that I know more places to go and more species that I can easily identify. I hope to count each day in a different place, but the weather forecast isn't necessarily promising. Still, it's time to get your count on, so grab a notebook, your binoculars, a trusty field guide, and make every bird count!

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