For 15 minutes you can be a Birder

Snowy owl we spotted in a nearby field

We are birders and proud of it. We love to go out into the woods, visit the shore, climb up hills and go down into the valleys searching for birds. We have a life list which is the number of total species we have seen over our lifetime. This list, hopefully, will continue to grow every year as we visit new areas. But we also revisit places where we missed the burrowing owl or the dipper or the clapper rail.

Sometimes we just watch out of our windows for birds. We have been part of Project Feederwatch for the past five years where for two days each week from November to April we record the birds that come to our feeders. It’s a bit of a committment but the people at the Cornell Lab for Ornithology don’t mind if you happen to go on vacation for a week.

You may have noticed the new little banner on the right side of this post (under the calendar) promoting the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you live in North America, its your chance to taste a bit of birding from the comfort of your home. What exactly is the GBBC? Well they say it best at the site, “The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. ”

If you click on the GBBC banner it will take you to the site that will give you all the vital details. It might help if you own a bird guide but I bet you know a lot of birds by sight. Cardinals, blue jays, house sparrows, goldfinches, starlings…sure, you know these guys. And if you aren’t sure open up your guide or go to an online guide. Cornell Lab has a good one that can help you ID that little bird that is always zipping around in the tree behind your house. You might discover its a black-capped chickadee.

Whether you count for only 15 minutes or decide to do it longer the key to this count is to tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at one time. What that means is if you look out and see six juncos scratching around on the ground and then later you look out and see four juncos your tally for that bird is 6 not 10. So if you live in North America and you might be hanging around the house or walking in the park or biking, look around and notice the birds. Make some notes and send your tally off to the GBBC. If you want to know more just click here or on the little owl to the right of this post and Happy Birding!

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4 thoughts on “For 15 minutes you can be a Birder

  1. I bet you know more of those birds than you think. My Mom used to tell me that until I started pointing to birds and saying, “What about that one?” “Oh that’s just a robin” or “Those are just sparrows”. Well yes, but you know what they are. Try the guide I linked to if you are interested, it helps you along.

    Thank you for “The Versatile Blogger” Award. I hope it generates some new readers and I will mull over the prospect of passing it on. I’ve been pretty neglectful lately in reading my favorites.

  2. I’m impressed by your ability to identify birds, and your commitment to The Great Backyard Bird Count! Sounds like fun. I did enjoy watching the birds from our kitchen window as I did the dishes – and I always loved to watch them build nests. But I can’t even tell you what type of birds they were! 🙂

    I just awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. Don’t feel obligated – I think of it more as a fun way to send new viewers to blogs that I enjoy, like yours!

    http://bighappynothing.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/how-versatile/

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