Our Latest South Bergenite Column: Next Friday’s Walk

Orange crowned JW

Jim Wright, who maintains this blog, also writes a twice-monthly column for The South Bergenite. Here is the latest — on the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Although the name of this column is “Nature Next Door,” today I’d like to talk about nature even closer to home, and how you can participate in a great citizen-science project called the Great Backyard Bird Count – or GBBC for short.

This four-day nationwide event, sponsored by National Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, begins next Friday, Feb. 17.  

I have participated for several years, and it’s simple. All you have to do is look out your window and count the number of species you see, as well as the number of birds for each species — for as many days as you like — and enter your results through the GBBC website (link is on the jump).

You can spend as much time or as little as 15 minutes a day.

I have just two suggestions — make sure your feeders are filled, and enjoy yourself. The event is for birders of all levels, so don’t feel like you can’t contribute.  

The GBBC is great because it gets people out looking at birds,” says New Jersey Meadowlands Commission naturalist Mike Newhouse. “It’s one of the best ways to attract young people and new birders, and it promotes bird conservation.”

Last year, backyard birders submitted more than 90,000 lists to the GBBC, identifying nearly 600 species and observing more than 11 million birds. 

This survey will not only help birders know where to find birds,” says Newhouse, “But it will also help scientists learn more about bird population trends.”

The data is added to the Avian Knowledge database, which that now holds 36 million records of bird observations that are used by scientists worldwide.

 To get more information on the GBBC and how you can contribute your findings to the count, go to the GBBC website: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ and click the “How to Participate” button.

If you aren’t keen on your bird IDs and would like to count birds with a group, come on down to DeKorte Park on Friday, Feb. 18, at 10 a.m.

The Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society are conducting a 90-minute guided walk, and we’ll point out all the cool birds we see along the way.

On our GBBC walk three years ago, we even had a Snowy Owl just outside DeKorte Park, on Valley Brook Avenue!  

It’s doubtful we’ll see any this year, but we should see several raptors and plenty of cool ducks, including pintails, Canvasbacks and Green-winged Teal. We might even see a rare Orange-crowned Warbler.  (pictured above).

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