Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Great Backyard Bird Count!

I first heard about the bird count from Happy Homemaker UK in her post last year about the "Big Garden Birdwatch."  I so desired to do our own bird count but couldn't find information on it anywhere . . . that is . . . until . . . this year!  Those of us around here at ReadMeAStory cannot possibly wait until Friday, February 15, when the Great Backyard Bird Count begins.

So what's it all about?  
From Feb. 15 through Feb. 18, folks across the nation will be spending at least 15 min. (or longer) a day watching the birds in their own backyard.  We'll count, record, and report all the birds we see.

What's the point? Why?
(as copied exactly from

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.
The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

• How will the weather influence bird populations?

• Where are winter finches and other “irruptive” species that appear in large numbers during some years but not others?

• How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?

• How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?

• What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.

In other words:
We're participating in a science experiment by helping provide research and statistics for the National Audubon Society's various bird studies, including bird migratory patterns.  So by participating only 15 min. a day, we're contributing to legitimate research!

Some of our favorite birdwatching books around here at ReadMeAStory include:

COUNTING is for the Birds by Frank Mazzola, Jr. (c. 1997) covers several developmental skills all at once.  While teaching your child to count to twenty, Mazzola introduces rhyme, bird facts, number recognition, bird species identification, all while weaving together a hidden plotline.

The kids' very favorite bird identification guide is The Pocket Naturalist Guide: South Carolina Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species (State Nature Guides) [Pamphlet] by James Kavanagh (c. 2002).  Read more about this resource on my post about The Pocket Naturalist Guides

Our Yard is Full of Birds (c.1992) by the mother daughter team Anne & Lizzy Rockwell tells a boy's story of bird watching while identifying various species of birds.  Lizzy Rockwell's watercolor and pencil illustrations beautifully capture each bird's unique traits.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited you found a US counting group! I really hope it catches on in the US as it serves a point and is a great activity for the kids. How many birds did you see? I've never seen a bluebird before - I'd love to one day.