Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

Feb 15 – 18: The 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

on February 14, 2013

What a week – King Cake, Pączki, and oh, so much lovely Valentine Candy! Want a chance to walk some of that off (not that there could possibly be many calories in the aforementioned treats)? It’s Birding Time! See below for steps (literally and figuratively) you can take to help our fine, feathered friends. The 2013 GBBC takes place February 15 through February 18.

Cardinal

(Photo credit: Shellie @ Firefly Creek)

See the website for instructions and other tools and information: 2013 downloadable instructions (PDF), FAQs, GBBC Photo Contest rules, GBBC participation certificate, Local events, Educational materials, Learn About Birds, and a printable checklist of species for your area in the United States and Canada.

The 2013 GBBC will take place Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18. Please join us for the 16th annual count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual 4-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Beginning in 2013, GBBC checklists will be accepted from anywhere in the world! Everyone is welcome–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. Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.

Why? Scientists use the GBBC information, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

• How will the weather 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?

The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited. via How to Participate — Great Backyard Bird Count.

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