Birdwatchers wanted for weekend bird count

·2 min read
The Great Backyard Bird Count can be done from the comfort of your own home and the data can be submitted online.
The Great Backyard Bird Count can be done from the comfort of your own home and the data can be submitted online.

(Rick Bremness/CBC - image credit)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is asking New Brunswickers to pay attention to their bird feeders this weekend.

Friday marks the beginning of the four day Great Backyard Bird Count.

The global event is in its 24th edition and gives scientists data about the species and populations of birds worldwide.

Allison Patrick, a conservation biologist with the conservancy, said last year bird watchers from 194 countries participated sending in over 250,000 checklists.

She says the good thing about the event is the low bar for entry and while you can always head out for bird watching, it can be done from the comfort of home as well.

"It's really accessible to anyone because if you spend even 15 minutes looking out your window at your bird feeder or even at the neighbour's feeder, and then you report the birds you see, you're participating," said Patrick.

While grabbing a bird book and a notepad is accepted in the bird count, Patrick said technology has made counting the birds and sending that data off easier.

"One of the apps is called the Merlin App, which you can use to ID the birds you see," said Patrick.

"Then you can report what you find through their eBird app. So the idea really is to go out, bird for as little as 15 minutes on one of those four days and then send in your data to eBird where scientists can use it."

The COVID-19 pandemic means restrictions on travel and gatherings, but that shouldn't be an issue for the bird count.

"We're just encouraging people to stay safe and not venture too far outside of their regular home and in neighbourhoods," said Patrick.

"That's actually the beauty of this event, because [whether] living in the city or the rural areas there's usually quite a few birds around our homes and this is the perfect place to to count them."

Patrick said the prime time for bird watching is in the morning between 7 and 10:30 a.m.

"[It's] like kind of the sweet spot for when the birds are very active and you'll be able to hear them tapping and singing and making little noises," said Patrick.

After the 15 minute count, bird watchers are asked to submit their findings to the Great Backyard Bird Count website.