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Great Backyard Bird Count about to begin across North America

February 4, 2009 | 10:45 am


As I type, there's a black phoebe outside my window, chirping its single-syllable call for all the neighborhood to hear.

Which reminds me to remind birders and aspiring birders that the annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held across North America Feb. 13-16.

People of all ages are urged to click on the above link and get involved. Last year, birders turned in 84,784 checklists. They counted 9,787,367 individual birds and identified 634 species.

It's a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, and offers an opportunity for people of all ages to monitor the bird activity in their neighborhoods.

In doing so they'll help scientists understand bird population trends.

"The Great Backyard Bird Count benefits both birds and people. It's a great example of citizen science," said Judy Braus, Audubon Education vice president. "Anyone who can identify even a few species can contribute to the body of knowledge that is used to inform conservation efforts to protect birds and biodiversity."

All that's required is an appreciation of nature, a good bird book and binoculars.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo of hummingbird by Pete Thomas/Los Angeles Times