Monday, February 8, 2010

Tit Watchers Needed.

Posted by Kirk Mona
Time to get off your wintered butt and start looking for tits in your backyard. Tits, those birds that are part of the Paridae family, mostly consist of Black-capped Chickadees and maybe Tufted Titmice if you're birding in the Twin Cities. This weekend (February 12-15) is the Great Backyard Bird Count and to be fair, they are looking for more than just tits. This is the wonderfully lucky 13th annual GBBC so you are practically mandated to participate. Only on the Christmas Bird Count will you find yourself so excited by chickadees, crows, pigeons and yes, even house sparrows.

Participants, also known by the sexy title, "Citizen Scientists", from around the country will fill out checklists of what they see allowing for a fantastic one weekend snapshot of the birds in North America. The project is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology , the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada.

All you have to do is bird on this weekend and submit you observations on www.birdcount.org. It is called the Great Backyard Bird Count but you can bird elsewhere as well.

Last year scientists were able to discover interesting trends in the pine siskin population because of this event. They are counting on you!

Another cool thing is that on the www.birdcount.org website, you can check out real-time maps showing what others are reporting during the count. how cool is that? There is also a photo contest and you can upload photos of birds you see during the count. The chickadee at the top of this post was from one of last year's winners, Bill Schiess from Indiana. Just for participating you are entered in a drawing for prizes including bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

Do you really need an excuse to go look at birds? Well now you have one! Even if you only enter data on a couple of birds you see in your yard that is still valuable data. Please take part!

(photo credit: Bill Schiess, taken during the 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count)

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