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Great Backyard Bird Count
February 12 - February 15
The National Audubon Society has hosted the Great Backyard Bird Count for 23 years, this being year 24. It doesn’t require a significant amount of your time to participate. Just 15 minutes a day, for four days, is all that’s required, and you can spend more time if you so wish. Observe for, at least, the minimum time, and then enter the data for scientists onto a free app that some of you already have…eBird. Please know that a beginner’s sightings and data are just as valuable as those from experts.
The rules are short and simple. Over a consecutive four-day period, preferably February 12-15, spend just 15 minutes a day (minimum) observing birds at your feeder, in your yard, or around your house (even above your home in the case of hawks, eagles, and vultures). What area do you use for YOUR observations? Some limit sightings to their physical backyards. I consider anything I can see from my home, even if it’s 100 yards away, or 100 yards up. The key is to be consistent and use the same criteria on all four days.
To help beginners with identification, the free Merlin Bird ID app will help you identify what you may not recognize. Even experienced birders have this app on their phone. Record all the species that you see, and the number of each species (an approximate guess is good if you aren’t certain of an exact number or if there are a great many birds). Enter the data (for collection) on the eBird app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It’s available for your phone and on your computer, and it is free. The phone version of eBird is available from your App Store. This app can be used any time of the year and not just for the Great Backyard Bird Count.
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