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After 15 years in North America, the Great Backyard Bird Count is now global. In 2013, anyone, from anywhere on Earth, can participate by visiting ebird.com or birdcount.org and reporting the kinds and numbers of birds they see during the 16th annual count.
Bandelier National Monument will participate with activities Feb. 15-18.
During the 2012 count, participants reported 17.4 million bird observations on 104,000 checklists. In northern states, Snowy Owls thrilled many participants when these striking birds-of-prey ventured south from the Arctic in record numbers.
Participating is easy. Simply watch birds for at least 15 minutes at the location of your choice on one or more of the count days. Estimate the number of birds you see for each species you can identify. You’ll select your location on a map, answer a few questions, enter your tallies, and then submit your data to share your sightings with others around the world.
In 2013, scientists predict that U.S. and Canadian bird watchers will see an influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches and winter finches (such as Common Redpolls) because of scarce food supplies on their northern wintering grounds.
With luck some folks may from a White-winged Junco, down from the Black Hills of South Dakota for the winter. White-winged Juncos are very rare in New Mexico and one has been well documented already in Los Alamos.
“With over 17 million bird observations last year, this kind of citizen science project and yield valuable results, such as tracking the impacts of climate change over the years, but can also be a lot of fun” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said.
The global capacity for the count will be powered by eBird, an online checklist program for all of the world’s 10,240 bird species.
Participants will look specifically for bluebirds and juncos. Call Fettig at 672-3861 ext. 706 to RSVP and for directions.