Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Great Blue Heron
2009 Great Backyard Bird Count

Photo credit: Marianne DiAntonio, FL

If you live in North America, mark your calendars! It's almost time for the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Held in February, this year's count will occur from February 12-15, 2010.

Want to participate? It's easy! You need to count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the survey and then enter your data online. You can download a tally sheet for birds in your geographic area here and look for special GBBC events near your home. There's even a flickr group where you can upload your bird photos taken during the count. And if you are snapping pics, be sure to participate in this year's photo contest (you can win prizes!).

Get ready to identify birds by taking this sound quiz (love the title, "Guess Who's Squawkin'!") and visiting the online bird guide from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with profiles of over 550 species. And don't worry if, like me, you can't identify every bird that you spot during your count. There's a special box to check on the survey if that's the case. Be sure to download a participation certificate (this is a .pdf file) after you've completed your count!

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