About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Counting on Birds

The Great Backyard Bird Count gears up for its annual event.

Wild Birds Unlimited is proud to be a major sponsor of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) which takes place the third weekend in February. This is a joint project between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online at http://www.birdcount.org/.

Bird populations are always shifting and changing. For example, 2009 GBBC data highlighted a huge southern invasion of Pine Siskins across much of the eastern United States. We learned that a failure of seed crops farther north caused the siskins to move south to find their favorite food.

The GBBC also provides an amazing amount of information about the locations and numbers of birds. This includes the spring migratory routes of Sandhill Cranes, records of lingering migrants such as Orange-crowned Warblers and Tree Swallows, the expansion of range for introduced species like the Eurasian Collared-Doves, or the decline in numbers of some species and increases in others. For more examples, visit the “Science Stories” section of the web site.

On the http://www.birdcount.org/ website, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators. Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

For more information about the GBBC, visit the website at http://www.birdcount.org/. video

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