February 14, 2008

Great Backyard Bird Count is for fun and the future

From Friday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 18, bird watchers all across North America will be participating in the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

If you live in a city, this popular pastime can be done from your yard, a city park, nature center, even your fire escape. Best of all, your actions truly make a difference as your count is included with thousands of others, helping science and conservation spotlight changes in bird populations and distribution from year to year.

If you live in eastern North Carolina, your local national wildlife refuges, such as Pea Island Refuge on Hatteras, are the perfect places to go and count. You can get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, connect with wildlife resources, and register to record how many birds you counted on your adventure.
Last year's count was a record-breaker. Citizen scientists across the
United States and Canada counted more than 11 million birds and tallied 616 species, submitting 80,000 checklists, exceeding the previous record of 61,000 checklists in 2000 by 33 percent. The northern cardinal was once again the most frequently spotted bird, while American robins were the most numerous species counted. Rare birds found during the 2007 GBBC included five lesser prairie-chickens in Oklahoma and two pink-footed geese in Rhode Island.

You can find out about getting started on your backyard bird count on www.birdcount.org.  It’s really quite simple.  Also check the site to learn more about last year’s results, view the GBBC online photo gallery, and to enter the 2008 photo contest as well. Up-and-coming film directors, please upload your video to You Tube and tag it
"Great Backyard Bird Count." Some of the best clips will also be posted on the bird count site.

For more information about national wildlife refuges in North Carolina, visit http://www.fws.gov/northcarolina


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