Monday, March 4, 2024

Great Backyard Bird Count Participants Invited to Virginia State Parks

Blue Heron at York River State Park. (Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation)

RICHMOND — For four days each February, the world comes together for the love of birds during the Great Backyard Bird Count. This year’s event takes place Feb. 16-19.

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online participatory-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real time.

Each year in February, people count the variety of birds that can be seen and heard in their own backyards over a four-day period. The observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Participants need only log the birds they count in a 15-minute period on at least one of the four days of the event, and can download the Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds in their area or use the eBird Mobile app to enter bird sightings.

While the Great Backyard Bird Count can be done anywhere birds are found, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is inviting participants to do so at Virginia State Parks.

“Virginia State Parks offer a unique and scenic location to view various birds this time of the year,” Powhatan State Park Manager Amelia Hulth said. “Our park is perfect for anyone to enjoy birdwatching alone or with friends and family. On Saturday, Feb. 17, we will offer a fun ranger-led activity where guests will discover more about our feathered friends that can be found in the park or in their backyard. For the second part of the program, we’ll use peanut butter or vegetable shortening, sweet gum balls, sticks and pinecones to make feeders that provide tasty treats for our winged friends. You can hang the feeder in your backyard and see who comes to visit.”

State parks that are having an event include:

Visit virginiastateparks.gov for more information about upcoming events at a state park.

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