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The Great Backyard Bird Count 2023

Great Backyard Bird Count

If you enjoy nature, consider getting involved with a citizen science project. You will learn more about nature, and at the same time help scientists collect important information. For example, citizen scientists are helping monitor the water quality of lakes, rivers, and streams, monarch butterfly migrations, and reptile and amphibian populations and movements.

One of the more popular citizen science efforts is the Great Backyard Bird Count, and it is coming up on February 17-20. It is an effort between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada to help scientists better understand the bird population dynamics and movements. Last year, participants turned in over 350,000 checklists from 192 countries around the world. These observations are helping scientists identify population trends, range expansions or contractions, how birds are doing in urban or rural areas, and more.

New birders and experienced birders are encouraged to participate. You can work alone or in a group, and it can involve kids as well as adults. You just count birds you observe for at least 15 minutes for as many of the days as you like. Count the greatest number of individuals of each species you see together at any one time, then submit your results. You can count the birds anywhere and anytime, and many participants submit several checklists throughout the four days.

All the necessary information for participating is on The Great Backyard Bird Count website. The site also contains a wealth of information on birds and birding. And, if you are rather new at birding, it may help you to download the Merlin Bird ID app. It is a free app to help in bird identification and allows you to save your sightings. If you are already using eBird to track your birding activity, a free eBird Mobile app is a fast way to enter your bird lists directly from your cell phone. There is also information on webinars, podcasts, and bird identification and other related aspects of birding.

So, consider participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is fun, and the information you provide will help scientists better understand the population dynamics and movements of our birds. Check it all out at birdcount.org.

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota"and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, Chuck has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror, and his “The Naturalist” columns appear in several other weekly North Dakota newspapers.
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