The overall winner in the 2012 GBBC photo contest features this Cedar Waxwing. Photo by Ben Thomas, Georgia
Come visit Bandelier for the 16 annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 15-18.
After 15 years of success in North America, GBBC is now global. In 2013, anyone, from anywhere on earth, can participate by visiting www.ebird.com or www.birdcount.org and reporting the kinds and numbers of birds they see during the annual count.
During the 2012 count, participants reported 17.4 million bird observations on 104,000 checklists. In northern states, Snowy Owls thrilled many participants when these striking birds-of-prey ventured south from the Arctic in record numbers.
For more details and photographs, see a PowerPoint presentation at http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc.
Participating is easy. Simply watch birds for at least 15 minutes at the location of your choice on one or more of the count days.
Estimate the number of birds you see for each species you can identify. You’ll select your location on a map, answer a few questions, enter your tallies, and then submit your data to share your sightings with others around the world.
In 2013, scientists predict that U.S. and Canadian bird watchers will see an influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches and winter finches (such as Common Redpolls) because of scarce food supplies on their northern wintering grounds.
In Los Alamos County, this winter is likely to yield high numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins. With luck, some folks may see a White-winged Junco, down from the Black Hills of South Dakota for the winter. White-winged Juncos are very rare in New Mexico and one has been well documented already in Los Alamos.
“With over 17 million bird observation last year, this kind of citizen science project and yield valuable results, such as tracking the impacts of climate change over the years, but can also be a lot of fun” says Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott.
The global capacity for the count will be powered by eBird, an online checklist program for all of the world’s 10,240 bird species.
Participants will be able to view what others are seeing on interactive maps, keep their own records, and have their tallies recorded for perpetuity.
“The GBBC is an ideal opportunity for young and old to connect with nature by discovering birds and to participate locally in a huge science project” according to Barbara Judy, Chief of Resource Management at Bandelier.
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with partner Bird Studies Canada.
This year Bandelier is asking people to visit the park, count the birds, and upload your observations as contributions to the local and global effort.
For more information, contact Stephen Fettig at Bandelier for suggestions and details about places to look for birds at the park, and to answer your questions about uploading your bird observations for the global GBBC project.
In addition, Stephen will be offering a 1-hour birding stroll for beginners starts at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, the first day of the count.
Bird counters should meet at the amphitheater parking lot near the Frey Trailhead on the mesa and close to the Juniper Campground near the park’s entrance station.
The stroll will look for common birds in and around the Juniper Campground. We will look specifically for bluebirds and juncos. Finding Wild Turkeys or a sapsucker would be extra special.
Call Stephen Fettig (505-672-3861 x 706) to RSVP and for directions.