This past weekend was the Great Backyard Bird Count Weekend. During this weekend birders from all over the world go outside to observe and count birds, then record their findings to help scientist study these wonderful creatures. This is an annual event that takes place about this time every year. It is powered by eBird and is a great time for people who want are thinking about getting involved in birding to jump in.
This morning I got the opportunity to participate in a bird count at Roxbury Park in Meggit, SC. This is a small park (approximately 157 acres) in the a small town south of Charleston, SC. During this time the group split up into groups and scoured the park in a coordinated effort to record any bird that could be found. This helps the park understand what species are in the park during this time and to help understand the diversity within the park. They will continue to do this annually and over time even be able to determine if there are any changes in species over time. This information can be used by the parks to educate the public and gain funding to expand. Just some numbers from the count: today we collectively saw 66 species of birds, one being a bird that hadn’t previously been recorded in the park (which was the 158th species to be recorded in the park since its opening less than 2 years ago)
This is also what scientist do with the Great Backyard Bird Count data on a global scale. They have gained a lot of information on changing ranges, migratory patterns, species numbers, and overall behavior. The application eBird is a great tool that makes it easy for anyone to start birding and be able to take part in this kind of data collection year around. It also makes it easy to keep track of your data and to see what others around you are seeing. I would also recommend going on guided bird/nature walks to get practice on identifying things in the wild. Even the best naturalists don’t know everything and often learn new things everyday.
So if you want to get involved in birding eBird is a good resource, as well as local naturalists and plenty of websites and phone apps. If not, I won’t judge if you just want to get out and enjoy nature for the amazing wonder it is.
To look at eBird click here
For more info in the Great Backyard Bird Count click here
Another cool thing to get involved in is Project FeederWatch