Have you heard of the Great Backyard Bird Count? It’s an annual effort coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada. During the count, from February 14th through February 17th (this would be a fun Family Day weekend activity!), people are being asked to spend 15 minutes on any one or more days of the count to simply count and keep track of the birds they see. They can then head to the Bird Count site and enter their findings, to be added to those of other bird watchers from all over the world. What’s the point? Well, this information helps researchers to track the health of bird populations – in North American this is especially significant following outbreaks of West Nile virus. Last year, records were broken during the count, which went global for the first time thanks to the eBird online checklist program. Participants from every continent reported their bird sightings – a total of 34.5 million birds and 3,610 species were recorded. That’s almost a third of all known bird species in the world! This year, you and your kids can join in and help the birds too!
All you have to do is to head on over to the GBBC website and create a free account. Go outside and watch the birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more of the 4 designated days. Go back to the GBBC website and click on “Submit Your Bird Checklist” so you can share your findings. Here are some printable bird tally sheets you might want to use while doing your bird count.
Looking for other ways to show some Valentine’s Day love to the birds?:
- 12 DIY bird feeders you can make with your kids
- Make a birdhouse
- Tips for backyard bird watching with kids
- An online guide to North American birds
- Bird coloring pages
- Learn some bird calls
- A bird scavenger hunt
- Create a bird book
- A fun activity learning about different types of beaks and the food they’re suited for
- Make a bird’s nest
- Make edible bird’s nests
- 15 feather crafts for kids
- Bird crafts for kids