Join the Great Backyard Bird Count in this Valentine’s weekend

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020

From the Executive Mansion in Raleigh to communities across the state, North Carolinians are showing wild birds some love this Valentine’s Day weekend by taking part in the 23rd Great Backyard Bird Count. North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper is kicking off this year’s count Friday, Feb. 14 by hosting school children to watch birds at the Executive Mansion.

The count continues through Monday, Feb. 17.

Volunteers will count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and then enter checklists at birdcount.org.

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“Counting birds in your own backyard with friends and family is a lot of fun, but it’s also serious science. Collecting these data tells us important things about the health of bird populations, a service that has only become more critical as birds face existential threats from habitat loss and changes to our climate,” said Andrew Hutson, Audubon North Carolina executive director and National Audubon Society vice president.

With more than 10,000 species in the world, it means all hands on deck to monitor birds found in backyards and neighborhoods as well as in suburban parks, wild areas, and cities all across North Carolina and the globe.

“Birds are important because they’re excellent indicators of the health of our ecosystems. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is one of the easiest and best ways to help scientists understand how our changing climate may be affecting the world’s birdlife,” says Chad Wilsey, interim chief scientist for National Audubon Society.

During the 2019 Great Backyard Bird Count, bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted more than 210,000 bird checklists reporting a record 6,850 species – more than half the known bird species in the world. Bird count data become more and more valuable over time because they highlight trends over many years, apart from the normal short-term fluctuations in bird populations.

To learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society with partner Birds Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

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