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Monday, February 20, 2012

LAST DAY of the Great Backyard Bird Count is Feb. 20 BONUS: Snowy Owl Video

The goldfinches, flickers, thrushes, robins, downy woodpeckers, chickadees and other birds in my back yard were not the only things that flew by this past week. So did the days. That's my excuse for just now letting you know this news: the 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count, ends today.

Fortunately, there is still time to participate. As the GBBC website says, "It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!" Please read on.

Downy Woodpecker                                                 photo credit: Jerry Acton of New York  2012
This annual event always takes place over a period of four days (Feb. 17-20 this year) but you can spend as little as 15 minutes today to still be included in this fun and important project. As the website says, by counting the birds in your own backyard you can help the cause of creating a "real-time snapshot" of bird populations across America. You have until March 5 to report your observations. It's really quite exciting and easy. Click here to learn how to participate (and here for downloadable instructions.)

Just by spending that 15 minutes and submitting your findings, you will be eligible to win a wonderful PRIZE in a random drawing. And be sure to have your camera  handy. Enter your photos in the Great Backyard Bird Count Photo Contest. Click here for the rules. The photo you see below won't win any prizes because I took it through a window and it isn't very sharp. But it gives you some idea of what we enjoy every day. Before putting up a finch feeder, I didn't know that in winter, goldfinches don't look as gold  as they do at other times.

Goldfinches at Tacoma backyard feeder in fall of 2011  Photo taken through window glass. 

All over America people look forward to this event and you can follow it online. You can see the results coming in through this link to the Map Room, Top 10 List, State Tallies, and Detailed Reports. Kids love it too, and this is the perfect activity on this Monday holiday. The special page for kids includes activities, jigsaw puzzles to do right on the computer, downloadable bird pictures to color, and more.

This winter's biggest birding news across the nation, including here in the Pacific Northwest, is the unusual occurance of Snowy Owl sightings. The opportunities to see them will probably end in March when these magnificent creatures are expected to leave the area. Although I've been lucky enough to see many interesting birds in my own Tacoma backyard, I doubt if a snowy owl will be among them. For that reason, I enjoyed this video about snowies from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and hope you will too. This high definition video is best enjoyed in the full-screen view which can be accessed by clicking on the symbol of arrows in the lower right corner.

Enjoy your Monday and remember to donate a little of it toward the Great Backyard Bird Count.
You might be surprised by what you discover.

1 comment:

Chellis said...

Beautiful pictures of the goldfinch and the woodpecker!!! When we lived in Parkland we had problems with a Flicker, another kind of woodpecker,that was too dumb to tell metal from wood. One morning he attacked the vent tube from the kitchen fan at 6am. I went out and shooed him away. Next morning the same so I grabbed a pan and a wooden spoon and scared him away. The 3rd day I grabbed my son's BB gun, but he heard me cock it and flew away. The 4th day I cocked it in the house, then went outside...missing him by probably a hair or two, and he flew off fast. But that was his last visit!