Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who's Counting?

We are so excited! Tomorrow marks the first day of the 10th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)! The event is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society and runs from February 16th through 19th.

The GBBC is a great opportunity to get anyone with the slightest curiosity about the natural world involved in a little birding. Simply count the highest number of birds of each species seen during any 15 minute period over the four days. Then go to www.birdsource.org/gbbc and enter your totals.

The GBBC data collected by citizen birders helps the scientists at Cornell determine if bird populations are changing and if conservation efforts are working. The information from past GBBCs was studied to track the spread of the West Nile virus and the conjunctivitis epidemic in Eastern house finches.

Last year 7.5 million birds and 623 species were reported through the GBBC and this year, Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are calling for even greater participation. The more checklists submitted, the more data we have about bird population trends.

The Birdwatchers Digest has a lovely quote from Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a community celebration of birds, birding, and nature. We often fail to notice how rich our surroundings are, but counting birds, even for just 15 minutes, is not only educational - it can provide a lasting source of enjoyment, turning a daily walk into a treasure hunt.”
Join us in helping the Cornell Lab of Ornithology track abundance of species, distribution of birds and migration patterns. Or even better, introduce a future birder to the treasures outside your window.

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