*Great Backyard Bird Count, February 18-21, 2011
Fifteen minutes is a long time by preschooler standards. And that is the minimum length of observation that can be submitted to the 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), an annual four-day event led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited. For each type of bird you see, you just count the most you see at any one time (so you don’t accidentally count the same bird twice). To support the children’s sustained attention I bought some sand timers with times of 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 2 minutes. The children will pair up, one timer and one watcher, to count the birds they can see around the playground. Then we’ll report the numbers as instructed, the most of each species that was seen at any one time. It would be more exciting if we had a bird feeder to attract more species but we can usually count on (heh-heh) seeing mourning doves sitting on the overhead wires, a few House sparrows in the bushes, and a crow flying by.
You can count at home too, and you can count from a window— “Your counting always counts!” Visit the Great Backyard Bird Count at www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ and learn how your students can contribute data. When a greater community contributes data, scientists have more information to use to understand bird behavior.
I’m going to participate in the GBBC again this year, February 18-21, in my subUrban backyard and will let you know what I see.
What’s in your (school’s) backyard?