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The Great Backyard Bird Count is this Weekend!

The 15th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend -Feb. 17 – 20 (2012). It’s a four-day event 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, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.  Tens of thousands of people throughout the U.S. and Canada take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count.

The GBBC is a great way to learn more about the birds in your community and connect with nature, and is perfect for fledgling birders.  You can count by yourself, with your family, community group, school, or friends! It’s an ideal way for more experienced birders to introduce children, grandchildren, and others to the wonderful world of birds.

Why count birds?

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

We need your help. Make sure the birds from your community are well represented in the count. It doesn’t matter whether you report the 5 species coming to your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day’s outing to a wildlife refuge.

Your counts can helps answer many questions:

  • How will this winter’s snow and cold temperatures influence bird populations?
  • Where are winter finches and other “irruptive” species that appear in large numbers during some years but not others?
  • How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
  • How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?

Are any birds undergoing worrisome declines that point to the need for conservation attention?

So, you’re helping science and you may also win a prize.  There are lots of them.

Just click here to find out all about it.  By entering your zip code, the site shows you a list of common birds in February, or with another click, adds the rare ones, in case you get really lucky.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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