Saturday, February 8, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count

One great thing about ecology and biology is we can use observations of the outdoor world from everyone, not just those with scientific training. These observations can help scientists better understand birds across the country and around the world.
Chickadees at the feeder (Ano Lobb)

One of the ways everyone can contribute to our understanding of birds is by submitting your observations to eBird. Many don't feel their observations of birds in their backyard isn't important but that is not the case! Tracking the patterns of backyard birds can help us better understand the impacts of weather, pollution, urbanization and other forces on all bird species.

Since this backyard bird information is so important the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was created as an annual four day event to encourage everyone to pay attention to what is in their backyard and submit data so we can compare across big areas and between different years.

The count is done in February before most species start migrating so it will help us understand the distribution of bird species which are residents, or of species like Juncos which may only be around during the winter months.

The 2014 GBBC is February 14-17th and I encourage all of you to spend a few minutes watching the birds out your window, or along your drive/ride to work and submit what you see. It's really interesting to see what people find. Some species, like Northern Cardinals have made big expansions recently, where as others ranges have reduced.

All the GBBC information will be submitted to eBird and participating in the GBBC is a great way to get familiar with the website and maybe start a habit of submitting your sightings more often!

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