20th annual bird count is next weekend

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The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count is February 16-19. This annual four-day event engages bird watchers from over 150 countries to count birds in one or many places and on one day, two days, or all four days.

How does it work? Participants watch for birds for at least 15-30 minutes at bird feeders or at a nearby habitat. A separate checklist is submitted for each day at each location. Data is used by scientists to analyze bird populations, so it is very important that everyone count birds in exactly the same way.

How to count? For each kind (species) of bird seen, keep track of the highest number of individuals that are observed at any one time. For example, during a 30 minute watch, three chickadees are seen at 8:05 and two at 8:15, eight at 8:18, and six in one view at 8:30. The maximum to be reported would be eight chickadees (not 19). Do not keep adding chickadees for the entire watch period as they come and go quite quickly. In addition to counting species, record the time spent watching and any other relevant information - such as temperature and weather conditions. If birds are counted at a feeder throughout the day, estimate the time actually spent watching, perhaps 1 hour total. It is still important to tally the highest number of each species seen at one time during the observation period.

How to submit observations? Observations need to be submitted online to the GBBC http://gbbc.birdcount.org/web site. The site will direct you to https://ebird.org/

- an international, real-time database that collects bird observations. eBird is amassing one of the largest and fastest growing biodiversity data resources in the world. Fill out the questions about the location, local habitat, and count duration. Then enter the high counts for each species sighted on that day and location. You can submit one bird checklist for each day that you count and/or for each new area that you count in that day.

The 2017 GBBC was the biggest in its 20-year history, with 181,591 checklists submitted, 6259 species observed (there are an estimated 9-10,000 species worldwide) and 29,610,045 total individual birds counted.

For more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count visit the website or for help entering a count report contact Ruth Stewart at 802-362-1185.


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