Count begins tomorrow
Herald Columnist | February 12, 2020 11:39 PM
The 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count begins tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 14 and continues through Monday, Feb. 17. The object is to count the birds in a certain area, such as a backyard, for a minimum of 15 minutes, but the time could be longer, such as for 30, 60 or 90 minutes, or even longer.
The numbers are recorded and submitted to the bird count website. Scientists use the information as a snapshot of bird locations throughout the world.
This is a family-friendly event, with enormous educational potential for our youth. Normally, such a statement is included in this column to mean youngsters 5-years-old and older. This count has the capability of involving even those youth younger than 5.
Imagine a toddler watching as an older brother or sister counts birds in the backyard from inside the sliding glass door. The birds could bring much joy and entertainment to the little guy, even though he can’t identify the species.
Remember, the family or couple or group need not contain their count or counts to the backyard. Example: A retired couple could decide to conduct a count in the backyard, then travel to a city park, then drive to a local lake, taking 15 minutes to conduct a count, making another count at each place on the other three days.
On Saturday, they decide to conduct a count at the same places. Of course, a family could do the same. In fact, the kids could be the motivating force for the family, such as, “Let’s do another count, Mom.”
Make this weekend a chance to take a couple of road trips to different places close to home. At each, a separate bird count could be accomplished.
We have already discussed the need to take adequate clothing along on any road trip, for both the youth and adults. Pay attention to the cautions presented, such as taking enough clothing so the participants can take off or add an article to what they are wearing.
Remember the weather this time of year is unpredictable, where warm weather could turn cooler or cool weather could turn warm. It is miserable to not be able to participate in a family event because clothing was not adequate.
Another consideration is food. When young, my mother would most often make sandwiches at home to take in a cooler, but sometimes she would take the various ingredients, in order to assemble them on the trip. Sometimes we even had a camp stove along to warm soup or stew.
Tomorrow: Final thoughts about making the Great Backyard Bird Count a success at your house.