SAVANNAH — Bird watchers of all ages are invited to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count at Fort Pulaski National Monument on Friday-Monday, Feb. 18-21.
Anyone from novices to expert bird watchers can take part in the annual event. Bird checklists can be picked up at the Fort Pulaski visitor center. To participate, plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes on at least one day of the count. You can count birds on as many days as you like. Just complete a separate checklist for each new day. When you’re finished, submit the forms to the Fort Pulaski Visitor Center.
The GBBC is a joint project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada. The results provide a snapshot of the whereabouts of bird species.
Bird populations are constantly changing. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to keep track of the complicated patterns of movement of so many species over an entire continent. The information from GBBC participants is even more valuable as scientists try to learn how birds are affected by environmental changes.
The information from the bird count shows how a species’ range expands or shrinks over time. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and that should be followed up on. GBBC information also allows us to look at what kinds of birds inhabit different areas, such as cities versus suburban.
All the information from the GBBC and other surveys goes into a bird database called the avian knowledge network. AKN holds 36 million records of bird observations that are used by scientists around the world.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is on U.S. Highway 80, 15 miles east of Savannah. The entry fee is $5 per person; ages 15 and younger are free. The park is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 912-786-5787 for details or go to www.nps.gov/fopu.