Winter finch “irruption” will be a highlight for many
The 22nd Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place from Friday, February 15 through Monday, February 18, 2019. Volunteers from around the world are invited to count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.
Anyone with internet access may participate, no matter what their skill level — it’s a great family activity, too.
Said Andrew Hutson, executive director of Audubon North Carolina and vice president of the National Audubon Society:
“Counting birds is not only fun for people of all ages, it’s important for understanding how our bird populations are doing. Just as canaries alerted coal miners to unsafe conditions, birds today tell us we need to protect more habitat and reduce carbon pollution, for the benefit of birds and people alike.”
In the United States and Canada, 2019 bird lists are more likely to include sightings of winter finches and grosbeaks that are moving farther south than usual in what’s called an “irruption.” This type of movement is often sparked by poor cone, seed, and berry crops in parts of Canada.
Says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program:
“This year is a very exciting one for backyard birders in the East, headlined by the largest Evening Grosbeak movement in at least two decades. From Atlantic Canada to North Carolina, these colorful feeder visitors have been making a splash.”
eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.
This is also an above-average year for Red-breasted Nuthatches in North Carolina.
Says Dr. Gary Langham, vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society:
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way for all bird watchers to contribute to a global database of bird populations. Participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count help scientists understand how things like climate change are impacting bird populations so we can better inform our conservation efforts.”
During the 2018 count, bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted more than 180,000 bird checklists reporting a record 6,456 species — more than half the known bird species in the world.
In North Carolina, bird watchers submitted 3,980 checklists reporting 213 species. North Carolina ranked ninth among states in the total number of checklists submitted. Checklists represented 97 of 100 counties, with Wake County submitting the most at 528 checklists.
NC participants will have a unique opportunity this year, according to Kim Brand of Audubon North Carolina:
“We’re planning a kickoff event at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh with First Lady Kristin Cooper, an avid bird watcher. Stay tuned for details and a registration link.”
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 the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at www.birds.cornell.edu.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org.
Bird Studies Canada advances the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada’s national body for bird research, conservation, Citizen Science, and education, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization. www.birdscanada.org.
Source: Audubon North Carolina