Friday, February 1, 2008

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Every year a national bird count is sponsered by the National Audobon Society. You and your family can take part no matter where you live in North America. This year it takes place from February 16-19.

To participate, pick a location the time you'd like to watch for birds. Then make a list and keep track of how many birds you see of each species during that time. You can download a checklist that is specific to your area at the Audobon Society website. Just put in your zip code and it will pull up a list. There are links to photos and information about each type of bird if you're not certain what a particular species looks like. The option of adding rare birds is also available.

There is no need to count birds for all four days. You can take a couple of hours during a morning or afternoon and go to the park, a national forest or your own back yard to do the count.

After you have your results log on to the website and submit your results. You may also submit photos and videos. Prizes ranging from binoculars to guidebooks are awarded in the photo contest.

The information that you provide will help scientists and conservationists to determine changes in bird populations and their distribution.

Which birds do people find the most? The North American Cardinal is #1 on the list with American Robins coming in second.

If you're in the Ozarks be sure and keep an eye out for our National Bird, the bald eagle. They have been removed from the endangered list and are now so abundant that you can see them as you drive along the road or cruise the local lakes. I saw four within 10 minutes myself.

Whether it's during the Great Backyard Bird Count time frame or not. Birdwatching is a great way to spend family time and it's inexpensive as well. Watch for our Ozarks birds when you're in the area.

Have a great trip!

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