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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The GBBC is almost here!

Just a quick reminder that the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is third weekend of February. Now is the perfect time to brush up on your winter birds, and remind family and friends that the annual GBBC is just around the corner. 
The Great Backyard Bird Count is where citizen scientists (that means people like you and me) take 15 minutes and count how many birds we see. It can be at any location. You can look out at your backyard, go to a nearby park, or look out your office window during your coffee break. You submit the number and variety of birds you counted and scientists compile all the data.

Your participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count is one piece of the puzzle that helps scientists get the big picture about changes in bird populations.

On New Year’s Eve, about 5,000 blackbirds died in Arkansas after fireworks scared them from their roost and they collided with houses, mailboxes, and possibly each other as they flew about disoriented in the dark. The incident sparked a flurry of media coverage. But we also need to look at the chronic loss of birdlife because of habitat destruction and other causes.

An estimated 100 million birds die from window collisions in the United States alone each year. That’s more than 270,000 per day on average! Outdoor cats are estimated to kill another 100 million per year. Click HERE to read more in a recent New York Times article.
Each year GBBC relies on previous participants to become trusted ambassadors and tell others about the count and encourage more new people to participate. As an ambassador you can distribute GBBC flyers in your community, hold a gatherings for schools, scouts or other organizations to show others how to take part in the GBBC. Cornell has a GBBC PowerPoint presentation (with script) ready for these presentations. Some ambassadors also speak to newspapers, television, and radio reporters about the GBBC. If you’re interested in doing more to promote the count, please visit the GBBC ambassador page.

Social networking is also the electronic "word-of-mouth" you can use to help spread information about the GBBC far and wide. So go ahead and tweet about what you’re doing to get ready for the GBBC—tag your tweet with #gbbc and it will be drawn into a special widget that will appear on the GBBC home page. You can also LIKE the GBBC Facebook page and share your images, videos, and other bird-related activities as we get closer to the count. 

OK, here’s your pop quiz for this month. Hairy or Downy woodpecker? This one trips up a lot of people. So take a close look, and then see if you got it right. Answer

To learn more about identifying birds by size and shape, watch our “Inside Birding” tutorial. About five minutes into the segment you’ll find more about distinguishing Downy and Hairy woodpeckers.

Thank you for caring about the birds! 

2 comments:

Joy K. said...

I got it right! It's great to see a resource that mentions other distinguishers than simply "one is larger than the other." I hope to see a Hairy woodpecker in the woods someday.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I've only seen a Hairy once and there was no mistaking it for a dinky downy. I hope you get to see one too.

Thanks for the comment, Sarah