Get ready to count

Yes, it is just a few days now until the annual Great Backyard Bird Count begins. Are you ready to count? It's easy - and free - to participate. You just go to the website and sign on. Then count the birds in a specific area - it can be your yard or a public area like a park - and report them on the site. Then watch the map fill up with reports from around the country, and, this year, from around the world.

In the past, the bird count only included the United States and Canada, but this year it is going global. I am really excited to be able to see those counts from all over the world. But really the ones that excite me most are the ones from my neighborhood and state. It's always interesting to see what other birders in my area are reporting.

Scientists can determine much about the health of various bird populations by analyzing the data from the bird count from year to year. Even a layperson like myself learns about the movement of birds in her area by looking at those numbers. This will be my eleventh year to participate in the count, and my records from all those years are available to me as a picture of how my yard and its birds have changed.

If you've never participated before, let this be the year that you start your picture of your own backyard. You don't have to have any particular expertise in birds - just be able to identify and count. If you care at all about birds, I can practically guarantee you will enjoy it.

(Cross-posted from Gardening With Nature.) 


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