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How many birds can you count?

Backyard Safari

Monday, February 07, 2011

Media contact: Jessica Basham

Chilly weather throughout Florida has kept residents inside and close to their heaters, under blankets and in their sweats, long sleeves and socks during December and January. However, spring is just around the corner and there is wildlife to discover in your backyard!

Get your binoculars ready, because starting Feb. 18, the largest bird count in North America begins. The Great Backyard Bird Count, which runs through Feb. 21, is a wonderful chance to add to your Bird Detective checklist and help scientists monitor birds across America. If you do not have a checklist, download it from MyFWC.com/Learning. In the left-hand menu, click "Fun Stuff." From there, look on the right side of the page under "Educator Links" for "Jr. Birder Program."

Counting birds is important. It helps scientists learn things, like how winter weather influences bird populations, how this year's migration compares with last year's and what kinds of birds are in cities versus rural areas.

There are many birds to view in your backyard during this time of year. Some of the well-known species of birds seen and counted during the 2010 Backyard Bird Count were Canada geese, ospreys, turkey vultures, red-bellied woodpeckers, American robins and Northern cardinals. Last year's bird count was 11,233,309 birds from 602 different species. You can help add to that number!

Birds are ancient creatures related to dinosaurs as well as reptiles. They have adapted and survived for millions of years. Birds are important species in nature and to humans. They are not just pretty animals to watch while they're flying high in the sky or hopping from bush to bush. They are important when it comes to forest regeneration and other plant growth. Birds spread seeds. Seeds sprout, and then grow into trees, providing homes for all kinds of wildlife in the forest. Birds also eat insects that humans find pesky, such as mosquitoes and flies. 

Birds are fun to watch. They sing, flitter, play and feed. They are in constant motion.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an exciting adventure for all ages and not limited to your backyard. Count birds anywhere!  Go to your backyard, local park, lake or beach. Count birds for as long as you like during the four-day period. Visit birdsource.org/gbbc for instructions and information on reporting your counts.

To become a junior birder, visit floridabirdingtrail.com and select "Birding Resources" in the left-hand menu, then "Wings Over Florida." Also, visit MyFWC.com/Learning  for other fun wildlife activities.



FWC Facts:
While bears may defend a food resource, bears generally are not territorial, meaning they do not defend boundaries of a specific area from intrusion by other bears.

Learn More at AskFWC