How many birds can you count?
Monday, February 07, 2011
Media contact: Jessica Basham
Chilly weather throughout Florida has kept
residents inside and close to their heaters, under blankets and in
their sweats, long sleeves and socks during December and January.
However, spring is just around the corner and there is wildlife to
discover in your backyard!
Get your binoculars ready, because starting Feb.
18, the largest bird count in North America begins. The Great
Backyard Bird Count, which runs through Feb. 21, is a wonderful
chance to add to your Bird Detective checklist and help scientists
monitor birds across America. If you do not have a checklist,
download it from MyFWC.com/Learning. In the left-hand menu, click
"Fun Stuff." From there, look on the right side of the page under
"Educator Links" for "Jr. Birder Program."
Counting birds is important. It helps scientists
learn things, like how winter weather influences bird populations,
how this year's migration compares with last year's and what kinds
of birds are in cities versus rural areas.
There are many birds to view in your backyard
during this time of year. Some of the well-known species of birds
seen and counted during the 2010 Backyard Bird Count were Canada
geese, ospreys, turkey vultures, red-bellied woodpeckers, American
robins and Northern cardinals. Last year's bird count was
11,233,309 birds from 602 different species. You can help add to
Birds are ancient creatures related to dinosaurs as
well as reptiles. They have adapted and survived for millions of
years. Birds are important species in nature and to humans. They
are not just pretty animals to watch while they're flying high in
the sky or hopping from bush to bush. They are important when it
comes to forest regeneration and other plant growth. Birds spread
seeds. Seeds sprout, and then grow into trees, providing homes for
all kinds of wildlife in the forest. Birds also eat insects that
humans find pesky, such as mosquitoes and flies.
Birds are fun to watch. They sing, flitter, play
and feed. They are in constant motion.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an exciting
adventure for all ages and not limited to your backyard. Count
birds anywhere! Go to your backyard, local park, lake or
beach. Count birds for as long as you like during the four-day
period. Visit birdsource.org/gbbc for instructions and
information on reporting your counts.
To become a junior birder, visit floridabirdingtrail.com and select "Birding
Resources" in the left-hand menu, then "Wings Over Florida." Also,
visit MyFWC.com/Learning for other fun wildlife