Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count

The more time you spend outdoors, the more you start to appreciate all the living things you come across. One great way support wildlife is to participate in the Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count.

For over twenty years, the Audubon Society has set aside a few days each February to ask all birdwatchers to go outside for at least fifteen minutes and write down what kinds of birds they see. They ask that you submit the information for each day that you participate on their ebird.org website or through their eBird mobile app. You can even download a participation certificate from the site when you submit information.

By enlisting the help of the general public, more information can be gathered much more quickly and efficiently across the globe. Thanks to the power of the internet and computers, the information people gather can be compiled and analyzed. Researchers can use that information to chart migration patterns as well as the health and proliferation of various species of birds.

If you don’t have a lot of experience, don’t worry. The eBird website is chock full of photos, descriptions, and bird songs of just about any feathered friend you might encounter. And you can enter your zipcode to get a customized checklist of the species you are most likely to see at that time of year. The list is interactive, meaning you can click on the name of any bird and it will take you to a page that gives you information on that species – including photos, video, sounds, and a history of each bird.

Here in the Northern Cascades, we are very lucky in that we have a decent roosting area in the wintertime for bald eagles. It is an amazing experience to see so many of these majestic creatures out in the wild. My favorite are the juveniles, who are so different in markings than mature eagles. February is also a great time to see other varieties of birds that call the Methow Valley home. There are geese, hawks, gulls, owls, woodpeckers, chickadees, wrens, finches, sparrows, and more birds in the area. Taking some time during the Great Backyard Bird Count to go bird watching can be a great experience.

The best part is that you can do this no matter if you are here in the valley or in your own backyard. All you have to do is head outside, put on your listening ears and keep your eyes open.It doesn’t require a fancy camera or expensive binoculars, although they help if you have them. We hope that it is something you take the time to enjoy and participate in no matter where you find yourself this February.