A nifty nationwide event called the The Great Backyard Bird Count starts today and runs through Monday, the 16th. Here's how it works:
Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count web site.
As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see. A selection of images is posted in the online photo gallery.
In 2008, participants reported more than 9.8 million birds of 635 species. They submitted more than 85,000 checklists, an all-time record for the count.
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.
Why not take 15 minutes this weekend to count birds? You don't have to be an expert, and this is a perfect project for kids. You can do this in your own backyard but you will see (and hear) a lot more bird species at Overton Park.
Go for a hike on your own or join us at 10:00am tomorrow, February 14, for our regular Second Saturday nature hike through the Old Forest. We meet at the east end of Old Forest Lane, next to the Rainbow Lake parking area. Questions? Email me at email@example.com.