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February 1, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count combines fun, conservation Feb. 12-15

What mid-winter activity is fun, easy, free, and helps bird conservation? What can parents and teachers do with children that connect them to a whole new world of natural wonders? From Feb. 12-15, the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, will give everyone a chance to discover the birds in their neighborhood.

During President’s Day weekend, from Friday to Monday, Feb. 12-15, people of all ages, from beginners to experts, are invited to join this event, which spans all of the United States and Canada.

Participants can take part wherever they are—at home, in schoolyards, at local parks or wildlife refuges. Observers simply count the highest number of each species they see during an outing or a sitting, and enter their tally on the Great Backyard Bird Count Web site.

Visitors can also compare their sightings with results from other participants, as checklists pour in from throughout the United States and Canada. Together, these counts offer a real-time snapshot of the numbers and kinds of birds that people are finding, from boreal chickadees in Alaska to wood storks in South Carolina.

This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Great Backyard Bird Count, and Audubon, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and state conservation agencies like the S.C. Department of Natural Resources are challenging people everywhere to participate in greater numbers than ever before. Greater participation, with more checklists submitted, provides more information about bird population trends, and helps to better inform conservation efforts. 

Last year, participants turned in more than 93,600 checklists online, creating the continent's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.

Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online.

Participants can explore real-time maps and charts online that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators. Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count.

South Carolina's natural resources are essential for economic development and contribute nearly $30 billion and 230,000 jobs to the state's economy. Find out why Life's Better Outdoors.

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