Look up there in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a really a bird — hopefully, lots of them.
It is time for the Great Backyard Bird Count, set for Feb. 14-17. If you are a bird-watcher or even just a bird-lover, I hope you will check out this annual opportunity and consider participating. I am not a bird-watcher myself, although I do love them. I just never got over that Alfred Hitchcock movie when I was young. Any time I see a bunch of them hanging out on a telephone wire, I am not sure that I can trust them!
Seriously, birds are an important part of our ecosystem. Their level of activity and population levels can indicate much about the health of our environment. The following information is a news release from the Great Backyard Bird Count. I hope you will consider signing up and spending at least 15 minutes during Feb. 14-17 counting birds in our area.
According to birdcount.org, bird-watchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the GBBC. Sightings should be entered at www.birdcount.org. The information gathered helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible.
The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with partner Bird Studies Canada.
“People who care about birds can change the world,” Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham said in a news release. “Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to unite around a shared love of birds and a commitment to protecting them.”
In North America, GBBC participants will add their data to help define the magnitude of a dramatic irruption of snowy owls. Bird-watchers also will be on the lookout for the invasive Eurasian collared dove to see if it has expanded its range again.
GBBC observations may help show whether or not numbers of American crows will continue to rebound after being hit hard by the West Nile virus and whether more insect-eating species are showing up in new areas, possibly because of changing climate.
Again according to birdsource.org, last year’s GBBC participants reported their bird sightings from all seven continents, including 111 countries and independent territories.
More than 34.5 million birds and 3,610 species were recorded — nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days.
“This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects—number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded,” Cornell Lab Director Dr. John Fitzpatrick said in a news release. “We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet’s birds are faring as the years go by.”
To learn more about how to join the count, go to www.birdcount.org and view the winning photos from the 2013 GBBC photo contest.
Register now to participate! It’s for the birds!
Upcoming KLB events
• Through Feb. 15 — Annual phonebook collection at sites throughout the county
•Feb. 21 — Georgia Arbor Day. We will have annual tree giveaways Feb. 21-22; Next Recycle It! Fair for electronics, household hazardous-waste items and other household items
For information on any of these programs, call KLB at 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.