Great Backyard Bird Count Begins Feb. 15

The Jamestown Audubon Center & Sanctuary will participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with partner Bird Studies Canada.

After 15 years of success in North America, the Great Backyard Bird Count is opening up to the entire world for the first time in 2013. People of all ages and skill levels are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other locations.

Participation is easy. Simply watch birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count – which is from Friday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 18 – then go to www.birdcount.org. Estimate the number of birds seen for each species that can be identified. Participants will select their location on a map, answer a few questions, enter their tallies and then submit their data to share sightings with others around the world.

The www.birdcount.org site also has bird identification tips, instructions, and past results. Anyone can watch as the tallies come in at that site.

During the 2012 count, participants reported 17.4 million bird observations on 104,000 checklists. In 2013, scientists predict that U.S. and Canadian bird watchers will see an influx of red-breasted nuthatches and winter finches, such as pine siskin, because of scarce food supplies on their northern wintering grounds. With thousands of people reporting what they see, scientists can detect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year. Data from the Great Backyard Bird Count can provide an early signal of changes in bird populations.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited.

Despite its name, the count extends well beyond backyards. Many participants choose to head for national parks, nature centers, urban parks, nature trails, or nearby sanctuaries.

Anyone is welcome to count at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.

Winter hours for the Nature Center are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Visitors can see Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable bald eagle, or use the Sanctuary’s more than five miles of trails daily, dawn to dusk.

For more information, call 569-2345 or visit jamestownaudubon.org.