It's almost here! Dust off your binoculars and print out your local bird checklist because the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count happens February 17-20, 2017.
If you aren't familiar with the GBBC it "is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are." Why is this important? Analyzing the data can help scientists answer a variety of questions about migratory patterns, health of bird populations, climate changes, etc. They need our help as citizen scientists to gather this data as there are not enough scientists in all parts of the world to do so. Do your part and have some fun while you are at it. Grab your checklist and head out with your binoculars for some fun outdoors while you count birds. Data submission is easy. GBBC has online resources to help you identify the birds that you find. If you enjoy photographing birds, there is even a photo contest. See last year's photo gallery for inspiration. Happy Counting!
For my newsletter subscribers that were wondering about the solution to why I no longer think the red-bellied woodpecker is grossly misnamed, check out the second woodpecker photo (bottom photo - male). My husband and I have often wondered aloud why red-bellied instead of red-headed when we would see this woodpecker (left photo - female). It turns out, we never had an angle on the bird that allowed us to see the red bit on the belly that you can see in this photo.