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Tens of thousands of people from all around the world are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count this February.
With that in mind, PEEC has planned a fun-filled February with many bird-themed activities for all ages. From children’s crafts and activities, to an adult bird identification class, to a family birding weekend at Bosque del Apache, PEEC wants the community to be ready to join the count.
On Feb. 3 and 10, PEEC’s regular Nature Playtimes, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, will be transformed to fit the birding theme. Toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers will have the chance to participate in fun bird-themed activities, crafts and story times. As always, the Nature Playtimes are free, and are from 10-11 a.m. every Monday.
For the school-aged set, PEEC has planned a Backyard Birding Workshop from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 5. Elementary children and their families will learn how to set up their own yard or outdoor space, no matter how small, to observe birds. Participants will build a birdhouse and bird feeder and learn about how to create a mini-bird habitat in their own backyard.
Space is limited and advance registration is required, so those interested are encouraged to sign up soon on PEEC’s website, or by calling the center. The cost to participate, including all materials, is $20 per child, or $16 for PEEC members.
Avid birder Dave Yeamans will host a bird identification workshop called “What’s that Bird?” 7 p.m. Feb. 13.
In this interactive program, Yeamans will answer questions and provide a wealth of information, including problematic bird identifications, bird feeding ideas and general birding information.
Yeamans’ program has been popular in the past and will provide new photos, videos and sounds. He will concentrate on about 20 common birds —some that are easy to identify and others that aren’t.
No advance registration is required, and the cost to attend this workshop is $8, or $6 for PEEC members.
The culmination of PEEC’s birding events will be a family birding weekend at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro. Activities will begin early in the morning on Feb. 15, so PEEC has negotiated a special rate at a nearby hotel for those who wish to spend the night on Feb. 14 and make a weekend out of it.
Participating families will receive birding booklets with activities to complete on their own schedule during the day at the refuge. For each completed activity, the participating child will receive a stamp.
A PEEC Junior Birder badge will be awarded to young participants at the end of the day. Birding experts will be available on Feb. 15 at specific times and locations around the refuge. In addition, there will be family-oriented activities involving hikes and games.
Advance registration is required for this popular event, so sign up soon. The cost is $50 per family, or $40 for PEEC members.
The 17th annual GBBC will be Feb. 14-17. The data collected from the GBBC helps track the health of bird populations worldwide. It’s easy to participate; simply sign up online, observe the birds in your yard for at least 15 minutes one or more of the days, and then enter your count online.
Visit the official website at birdcount.org for more information.
For more information about these and other programs offered by PEEC and to register, visit PajaritoEEC.org, email Programs@PajaritoEEC.org or call 662-0460.