The Great Backyard Bird Count: Counting Birds for Science… and for Fun!
North Carolina is not only blessed by a range of spectacular geographical regions, but by a broad array of plants, animals and birdlife, too. We are fortunate to be living in one of the most naturally diverse states in the country, where often we take for granted the closeness of nature and the incredible natural bounty of our beautiful state.
During the worldwide, annual Great Backyard Bird Count, avid and beginner birdwatchers alike count the birds they see in their yards or neighborhoods and record those observations by submitting detailed checklists online. Volunteers are invited to count birds in their vicinities for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the 4-day count, taking place this year between Friday, February 15th, 2019 and Monday, the 18th. Information collected provides valuable data on species and their numbers in any given region, helping researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society to better understand variations in bird populations year to year and decade to decade.
In 2018, volunteers from over 100 countries submitted checklists reporting an astounding 6,456 species of birds. In North Carolina, reports were submitted from 97 out of 100 counties, ranking our state number 9, nationwide, in terms of total checklists provided, with the majority of these – 528 checklists – coming from Wake County alone. 2019 promises to be another momentous year, per Marshall Iliff of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, due to especially high numbers of three particular East Coast species: the colorful Evening Grosbeak; the Winter Finch; and the Red-Breasted Nuthatch, one of several North Carolina bird species whose numbers have been expected to diminish due to climate change.
Check out these – and so many more – fun and family-oriented bird count activities taking place in our very own Wake County parks next weekend!
Friday, February 15, 8-10am, Ages 6 & Up
Count the birds on an informative group walk along Wake County’s legendary Tobacco Trail.
Historic Yates Mill County Park: Breakfast with the Birds!
Saturday, February 16, 9-10:30am, All Ages
Enjoy donuts and hot chocolate or coffee with the kids before walking the trails, identifying and counting the birds in one of the county’s most scenic wildlife refuges.
The Eagles Have Landed! – at Lake Crabtree County Park
Sunday, February 17, 1-3pm, All Ages
Between 2003 and 2011, eagles often nested in the park, but since then, sadly, no nests have been spotted. This year, a brand new nest has been discovered! Learn more about this mother eagle and her nest and join park staff looking for eagles and other birds that inhabit the lake’s mudflat area.
Harris Lake: Wacky Woodpeckers
Monday, February 18, 10:30am-12pm, All Ages
Learn all about the distinctive woodpecker, one of the most easily identified birds in our region. Hear some common calls, listen for the telltale sound of these colorful birds as they peck for food on the side of a tree, and make a suet log to hang up in your own back yard. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
To find out more about the worldwide Great Backyard Bird Count program, including registration, photo contest rules, and tips in identifying local species, go to https://www.audubon.org/conservation/about-great-backyard-bird-count. For a complete list of Wake County bird count-related events, please visit http://www.wakegov.com/parks/events/Pages/GBBC.aspx