Monday, February 13, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count This Weekend

Snowy Owl photo copyright Ian Davies

The 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) runs 17 - 20 February. Although we won't be seeing the snowy owl in our area (there have been some sightings in OK this year though), there are still plenty of good birds out there to see.

The GBBC is another citizen science project in which all of us can help contribute to our knowledge of birds. This is a super project for home schoolers or those who just want to get out of the house and enjoy nature for a little while.

To participate, watch and record birds for a minimum of 15 minutes and upload your counts at the GBBC website.  The website has an instructional video and other helpful information to get started. You don't have to be a birding expert and you don't have to know all of the birds (you just indicate in your checklist that there were birds you couldn't identify.)

If you want to have the opportunity to take part as part of a group, then head for Lake Arrowhead State Park at 9:00 AM on Saturday, February 18. There is a $3 admission fee at the gate. The folks at the gate can direct you to the right place.

If Saturday isn't a good day for you, consider coming out to Wild Bird Rescue on Sunday, February 19 at 7:30 AM. I'll have my scope, and we'll be counting there for an hour or so, depending upon the weather and the birds.

Unfortunately, I'll be out of town  until Saturday evening, but plan to bird multiple locations on Sunday and Monday. If you want to go with or meet up with me, send an email to and we'll plan a count.

Last year participants sent in 92,000 checklists with 11 million observations. Observers in Wichita Falls submitted 15 checklists, documenting 75 species. We can do better, I'm sure. Right now, the weather is predicted to be pretty nice, so get outdoors and enjoy it!

Good birding!

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