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Celebrate Family Day by participating in Great Backyard Bird Count in Clearwater

Population trend maps on eBird show declines in some of our most common species
A house finch enjoys a perch in between chomping sunflower seeds from a bird feeder near Williams Lake Jan. 30, 2023. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Dennis Leonard

Special to the Clearwater Times

Participation as a citizen scientist in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is one piece of the puzzle that helps scientists get the big picture about changes in bird populations.

Since 1970, population numbers have staggeringly declined nearly three billion birds.

Many local people have mentioned seeing fewer birds this winter. Population trend maps on eBird show declines in some of our most common species, such as Black-capped Chickadee which, in 2022, dropped to the lowest number of individuals for the specie since our local GBBC started in 2007.

With the GBBC taking place from Friday, Feb. 17 to Monday, Feb. 20, perhaps the whole family can participate on Family Day. So how about getting out, or relaxing inside, and counting some birds to add your piece to the puzzle. You can report birds observed at any location. It only takes 15 minutes of observation, not necessarily all at one time, to have a checklist. Record the date, your start time, and the most of each specie you see, then submit it to, Cornell University’s website which has years of data to peruse. If only one individual bird is sighted, it is valuable to submit a checklist because it provides important data for the count.

No Internet access? Phone 250-674-2518 for details and later to submit your checklists or get help.

You can pick up an abbreviated checklist for the area at the library. People who feel they don’t know many birds might be surprised how many they do know on the checklist. Anyway, you only report the species you are able to identify. Cornell has a free app, Merlin Bird ID, to assist with bird identification by photo or sound which can be very helpful.

Happy birding

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