The Great Backyard Bird Count is a global citizen science project managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the world’s leading research center and authority on birds and bird habitat. Birdwatchers around the globe use the smartphone apps E-Bird and Merlin ID to report their observations and sightings over a long weekend each February at the beginning of the migratory season. The field lists of hundreds of thousands of participants are entered into a massive database, capturing observation totals and regional trends in real time, and then mapping the global results on the E-Bird website, which is available for scientific analysis for amateur enthusiasts and professionals alike. An excellent opportunity to engage in a worldwide effort to understand and appreciate birds and help in the effort to conserve their diminishing natural habitats.
Plus, it’s a great excuse to get outside and explore nature at the beginning of each new spring. This year I visited the state park on the Saint Vrain River near Longmont, the South Platte River county park, and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies on the west side of Barr Lake. These locations are testaments to the adaptability of birds to survive within heavily developed areas of a large city. Lots of everyday songbirds, shorebirds, ducks and geese, but also great sightings of Blue Herons, Bald Eagles and Red-Tailed Hawks.