Teachers, parents, here is an awesome eco-activity that is sweeping through North American over 4 days in February (13th-16th) and its called The Great Backyard Bird Count. If you haven’t tried bird watching or counting the number of same bird species in one spot, you are missing out. Kids get so excited with this activity ~ it’s like a rock star enters the backyard when you see a group of birds you can name quickly…kids love it! Anyone can participate during these 4 days because it’s a fun eco activity that involves bird watching, counting, and entering data online ~ perfect for kids (and adults) of all ages. Why would you participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count 2009? It’s fun, free, anyone can participate and it teaches your children to help birds. This event is now an annual event and creates a snapshot of which birds are where, across North America. This count is important and actually helps scientists learn about bird populations, by knowing where the birds are. For more reasons this count is important, click here.
How can you participate?
During one, two, three or all four days of this event, plan to count birds for a minimum of 15 minutes. You submit a different checklist (checklist is online) if counting in different areas (backyard, beach, park, etc.) and a different checklist for different days. You count the greatest number of same species birds that you see together at one time. Record these numbers on your checklist (helpful to print a hard copy to use before entering the results online), then enter your numbers online via the website, starting on Feb 13th. It will be active to enter your results until March 1, 2009.
Things you might need?
The best purchase I’ve made lately was visiting my local wildlife bird store and purchasing a book with bird species that populate the area where I live (West Coast). My kids love looking through it and recording the different species we find then recording their discoveries in a bird journal. See To Get Parents and Children Outside Enjoying Nature for more information.
Other helpful tools located on the Great Backyard Bird Count site are:
• Printable Tally Sheet. Input your postal code and the GBBC site will bring up a list of all the species you might encounter during your bird counting. If you click on the name of the bird, you’ll see a picture of the species and tons of information….an awesome tool!
• The entry form. Best to print this off beforehand, then enter the information online later.
• Tips for attracting birds ~ from choosing bird food to selecting a bird feeder.
• Top 10 Birds from the 2008 Backyard Bird Count
• Stats for those into statistics. Wouldn’t it be cool to see British Columbia make the top 10 for checklists submitted in North America? Let’s go for it!