Times-Tribune Staff Report
The 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is going to take place Friday through Monday and is an opportunity for bird watchers to participate in a continent-wide count of birds.
According to Wendi Allen with Burkmann’s Backyard Birds, this count gives ornithologists a yearly snapshot of what birds reside in certain areas. Participants in the bird count can help these ornithologists measure increases and decreases in bird populations throughout North America, as well as studies of migratory routes and disease.
Allen asks participants to count birds almost anywhere – in the back yard, at parks, or almost any other open area. A pair of binoculars and a field guide are recommended, but not required.The bird count has three rules: first, birds must be counted for at least fifteen minutes. Volunteers are advised to keep track of the types of birds observed and how long the volunteer watched the birds. Second, counters must make an estimate of how many birds of each species were seen. Allen said large flocks may be a challenge, but a volunteer’s best guess is still valuable. Third, lists should be submitted electronically online and new lists should be made for each new day, different location, or time of day at the same location.
A continent-wide photography contest also accompanies the bird count. Judges from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada will review and award entries. Categories include overall best picture, birds in their natural habitat, behavior, group shots, composition, and people enjoying birds.
Additional information for the count and the photography contest can be found at www.bridsource.org. Hard copies of count sheets and additional information can be found at Burkmann’s Backyard Birds at 115 S. Laurel Road in London, or by calling 330-0606.