Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Annual Great Backyard Bird Count set to begin this week

LAKE COUNTY – Now in its 12th year, the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual four-day event led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited, kicks off on Friday, Feb. 13 and runs through Monday, Feb. 16.


This family-friendly event invites everyone to count birds anywhere – backyards, parks or wilderness areas – to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the United States and Canada.


Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to expert birders. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or if you're truly inspired, you can count for as long as you like each day of the event.


As the count progresses, the Great Backyard Bird Count Web site is updated so that anyone with Internet access can see what is being reported here in Lake County or anywhere in the United States and Canada.


Located along the major bird migration route, the Pacific Flyway, Lake County is home to more than 300 species of birds, according to the Redbud Audubon Society, making spotting many different types of birds in your backyard easy.


For a family outing, you can watch birds at the Rodman Slough Park or join the Saturday morning guided bird and nature walks hosted by the Lake County Land Trust at the Rodman Slough Preserve.


The guided walk is free and begins at 8 a.m. in the summer and fall; 9 a.m. in the winter and spring. Walks begin at the Rodman House, at the corner of Westlake Road and the Nice-Luceren Cutoff in Lakeport.


Other locations to easily spot many types of birds include Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park.


In the 2008 count, 37 reports were submitted that included nearly 150 different species of birds in Lake County.


The Great Backyard Bird Count is important because scientists can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are.


Bird populations are dynamic and constantly changing due to a myriad of reasons, and documenting the migration, movement and distribution of so many so many different species in such a short time would be impossible for even a team of scientists.


According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, some of the questions that can be answered by the data collected in the Great Backyard Bird Count include:


  • 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?


The Great Backyard Bird County Web site includes everything you will need to participate including bird identifications, educational materials for teachers and parents, and even a contest for photographs of birds.


For more information and to download a checklist to participate, visit www.birdsource.org/gbbc/.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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