This weekend marks the 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which started yesterday and continues through Monday. I saw an article (Bird count takes wing Friday) in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and thought this would be a fun activity to do with the kids.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada. All you have to do is count the number of birds in your backyard for at least 15 minutes on February 18, 29, 20 or 21, then log the information online at www.birdcount.org.
I found these instructions, which gives more details about how to count birds (such as you should count the largest grouping of a type of bird together at one time, instead of seeing 3 cardinals, 1 cardinal and 5 cardinals and counting it as 9, it should be counted as a total of 5 so you don’t count a cardinal more than once). This checklist also allows you to enter your city or zip and it gives you a list of birds that live in your area. Many of the birds on this checklist are linked to more information, including pictures, silhouette and sound, to help you identify common birds.
The Audubon Society also offers the Audubon Guide in the Android Market and the iTunes App Store for $14.99, which is a bit steep for an app, but appears to be the printed guide in app form. It includes over 750 North American birds with pictures, silhouettes, bird songs and calls.
If you spent some time counting birds this weekend, leave me a comment and let me know how it goes. Happy bird counting!