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Make it count: Join bird enthusiasts around the world in recording migrations

Rebecca Barnabi
(© Chelsea – stock.adobe.com)

The Great Backyard Bird Count is this month.

You can contribute to science by counting birds in your backyard in February. You are invited to participate from February 17 to 20, 2023.

Every February, millions participate by counting the variety of birds in their backyards and reporting their findings. The event allows individuals from all over the world to come together in their love of birds while also learning about migrating patterns. Observations gathered during the four days in February enable scientists to better understand global bird populations before an annual migration.

“Virginia State Parks provide the perfect location to view many different types of birds,” Chippokes State Park Manager Ben Richard said. “We have self-guided activities at Chippokes where guests can use the iNaturalist app to identify and count the birds they see. February is a great time to come to the park and shake off the winter blues, enjoy the refreshing air and spot a variety of birds that pass through the park or make it their home. We encourage families to get involved and make a game of it.”

Participants keep a log of birds they count in a 15-minute period on at least one of the four days. Help identifying birds is available on the Merlin Bird ID app or bird sightings can be shared on the eBird Mobile app.

Events will be held at the following state parks:
●    Chippokes, Surry
●    Hungry Mother, Marion
●    New River Trail, Max Meadows
●    First Landing, Virginia Beach

“The Backyard Bird Count is a great program where anyone can participate and do their part to help scientists collect data to help birds of all shapes and sizes,” Hungry Mother State Park Manager Andrew Philpot said. “Join us at the park for a variety of activities that showcase the importance of the birds in the area. By simply identifying the birds around you, you can help protect numerous species.”

Individual bird counts contribute to a global study that helps protect bird populations all over the world. The Great Backyard Bird Count connects us with birds, nature and each other.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.