The 17th-20th of February are important days for backyard bird watchers. Over those four days we have the opportunity to participate in one of the most comprehensive citizen science projects created. Cornell Lab of Ornithology launched the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) in 1998. Over the past 18 years it has grown from a small group of backyard feeder watchers to an international conservation project. Scientists use information from the GBBC, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like - How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations? and What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?
This month’s meeting will take a closer look how we can participate fully in this exciting adventure. Judy Walker, one-time reviewer for the GBBC, will share with us tips on how to make some tricky identifications; count large flocks of birds, and how to navigate the GBBC website. There will be some interactive activities that should help sharpen your identification skills.
As a bonus, she will also ease us into the world of electronic birding tools. You’ll learn how to use eBird.org to plan your next birding trip and take a tour of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. We’ll also look at some other websites and apps that will help sharpen your identification skills and turn you into a true citizen scientist (or at least a good armchair bird watcher). Bring your own device, if you have questions or need help getting started.
Come prepare to participate and sharpen your skills as well as learn how to use some amazingly helpful tools that will enhance your birding experience. As usual, refreshments will begin at 6:45 PM with the program starting at 7:15 PM sharp.