The Great Backyard Bird Count
Birds in My Backyard
I’m grateful when I say I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to go birding in Costa Rica, but you know which birds have me the most excited right now? The Northern cardinals outside my kitchen window.
It’s not that I didn’t see unique and brand-new-to-me birds in Central America, but honestly, I am over the moon about the fact that I’ve had 12-15 cardinals hanging around my house for the last few weeks. On these dreary days, that vivid red the males carry around is like a little gift. And the females are equally beautiful, if not as showy.
The chance to be awed by nature doesn’t require travel; backyard birds are filled with colors and behaviors that thrill anyone who will take the time to watch closely. Have you seen a male cardinal feed a female cardinal prior to setting up housekeeping? Have you ever noticed how juvenile house finches will follow their dad around in a flock to get food and learn about the world? How about those Eastern bluebirds perched on branches who stare intently at the ground just waiting for the right meal to present itself? My personal favorite is that crazy thing white-breasted nuthatches do to chase away other birds!
Backyard birds are not only fascinating, they also tell a story that lets us know how healthy our planet is. Flourishing biodiversity and a strong population of birds can be (quite literally) a canary in the coal mine regarding the health of our ecosystem.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up on the weekend of February 17-20, 2023. The data we collect as bird watchers will be used by conservationists and ornithologists and biologists to gain new insight into populations, migration trends, effects of a warming planet and more. All you really have to do is watch those cool little birds at your house and upload some information to eBird.
Absolutely everyone can participate. And Hungry Mother State Park is making it even easier because they’ve organized guided bird walks for the morning of Feb. 18 that will allow you to hone your birding skills and find out more about using eBird. Check here for event details.
See other parks that are having events as well by checking here.
Join your friends at Hungry Mother for a Saturday walk, then head back home to put your new skills to work as a counter of backyard birds. You’ll be a bonafide and vital participant in the scientific community, and you’ll be doing your part to strengthen the environment and save the birds. Oh, and you’re likely to have a good time being amazed at what’s in your own backyard!