Great Backyard Bird Count Begins February 18

February 13, 2011

Kids can count the birds in the backyard! The February 2011 California Least Tern Newsletter of the El Dorado Audubon Society had an article on the Great Backyard Bird Count to be held February 18-21, 2011. This would be a great classroom or family activity! Here is an instructional video all about what you would need to do from the website of the GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count). Here’s How to Participate. Here’s GBBC for Kids!

News Release:
February 8, 2011—Blackbirds made the headlines when a flock of thousands fell from the skies in Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. Now bird enthusiasts across the continent are counting the birds—not just blackbirds, but birds of more than 600 species—in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. During February 18–21 the event will create an instantaneous snapshot of birdlife across the U.S. and Canada for all to see.

Anyone can help by tallying birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count. At www.birdcount.org, you can enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time and watch as the tallies grow across the continent. Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the four-day count typically records more than 10 million observations.

Last year’s participants reported more than 1.8 million American Robins, as well as rarities such as the first Red-billed Tropicbird in the count’s 13-year history.

“Whether people notice birds in backyards, parks, or wilderness areas, we ask that they share their counts at www.birdcount.org, ” said Judy Braus, Audubon’s senior vice president of Education and Centers. “It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels.”

“When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we can detect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year,” said Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“An isolated event such as the dead birds in Arkansas may be within the range of normal ups and downs for an abundant species like the Red-winged Blackbird,” Dickinson said. “But the count can serve as an early warning system for worrisome declines in bird populations that result from more widespread problems.”

Dickinson said past GBBC counts showed a drop in reports of American Crows since 2003, coincident with some of the first widespread outbreaks of West Nile virus in the U.S. Once ranked among the top 4 or 5 most frequently reported species, crows are still among the top 10 birds reported in the Great Backyard Bird Count but they have dropped in ranking since 2003. This “signal” is consistent with data from the more intensive Breeding Bird Survey, as well as studies demonstrating declines of 50–75% in crow populations in some states after outbreaks of West Nile virus.

Maps from the count have also captured the paths of migrating Sandhill Cranes and recorded the dramatic spread Eurasian Collared-Doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s, the species was reported in just 8 states during the 1999 GBBC. A decade later, it was reported in 39 states and Canadian provinces.

“I have joined the Great Backyard Bird Count for the past three years and am really looking forward to doing it again,” said participant Kathy Bucher of Exira, Iowa. “I really enjoy nature and bird watching. My mother and I share updates on the birds we see. It’s a fun hobby to share with a loved one!”

For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, visit the birdcount website. The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter their bird checklists online.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

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• Miyoko Chu, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, (607) 254-2451 (Eastern Standard Time), mcc37@cornell.edu

• Delta Willis, Audubon, (212) 979-3197 (Eastern Standard Time), dwillis@audubon.org

• Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada, (250) 493-3393 (Pacific Standard Time), dcannings@birdscanada.org

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website and the All About Birds Bird Guide.

Now in its second century, Audubon connects people with birds, nature and the environment that supports us all. Our national network of community-based nature centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy programs engages millions of people from all walks of life in conservation action to protect and restore the natural world.

Bird Studies Canada administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada’s national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.

National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Call: (212) 979-3000

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473

Bird Studies Canada
Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 586-3531
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Grandpa Ron and I have a Red-tailed Hawk, Harris Hawk and Northern Harrier that like to visit for dinner. They perch on the wall outside a window. I captured 2 pictures of the Harris Hawk before he had enough of me and flew off.


… and we always have quail, unless they are hiding…


Check out other ideas and activities to do with kids on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com by the author of the award-winning children’s book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too!
🙂


Monday is Total Eclipse of the Moon!

December 19, 2010

Joe Rao on space.com explains the 12 stages of the total lunar eclipse that will occur on 12/20-21. The article has all kinds of additional links for related interesting information including a time table for different time zones. Here are some pictures of other lunar eclipses.

Check out ideas and activities to do with kids on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com by the author of the award-winning children’s book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too!
🙂


Quail Snow Angels

November 27, 2010

One of the quail obviously miscalculated its ability to walk on snow and sunk into it. Flapping its way out of the situation caused a beautiful snow angel – bird style!

Check out ideas and activities to do with kids on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com by the author of the award-winning children’s book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too!
🙂


Tonight’s Sunset in Long Beach Was Gorgeous! Photos Here!

November 5, 2010

I’ve been home sick with a cold for two days. Grandpa Ron has been taking care of me! Aw! He brought me lunch and dinner. What a sweety. But then about 10 minutes ago he calls and says “Go quick outside and enjoy the beautiful sunset!” So I grabbed the camera and ran to the end of our street. Snap! Snap! Snap! Hurry, before it’s gone! Now it’s dark! BUT – here are the photos for you to see that sunset, too! It is low tide so the water is low along the beaches but there are still some nice reflections! Was great to enjoy the sunset! 🙂

Enjoy!

Check out ideas and activities to do with kids on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com by the author of the award-winning children’s book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too!
🙂


Our First View of New Quail Babies in Reno

July 2, 2010

Just as Grandpa Ron and I were firing up our computers for a little office work around 8 pm this evening, we had a Quail Alert! Mama Quail was quickly leading about 20 baby quail across the vast expanse of our back patio while Papa Quail waited in the rear of the family to make sure that all were safe. We never saw so many babies with only 2 adults! I ran for my camera!

I quickly got two frenzied clips of the babies. Some stayed huddled on the warm patio facing the setting sun while most darted back and forth between the bird feeder and the huddled group on the patio. Then Mama seemed to look at me and said it was time to go! You will see her briefly toward the end of the clip. Then the babies started darting toward her. So I stopped filming. Then I caught them as they fled away!

Can you do a better job of counting them? How many babies are there?

This is the second video of the baby quail visiting the bird feeder with two adult quail at 8 pm on July 2, 2010 in Reno, NV. They scurried across the patio as fast as their little feet could move! They are so cute! RUN! Babies! RUN!!

More of my blogs mentioning and photographing quails and their babies are here.

Check out ideas and activities to do with kids on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com by the author of the award-winning children’s book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too!
🙂


Father’s Day Ideas Close to Home

June 1, 2010

The Dot com women website has some great sparks for you to come up with some Father’s Day ideas close to home.

Check out my other blogs at


Drought Tolerant Gardens

May 9, 2010

It is so important these days to try to conserve water and one way to do this is to minimize the amount of green lawn you have on your property. The Long Beach Press-Telegraph had a great article with super suggestions by Sandra Barrera, Staff Writer. Check it out! Drought tolerant landscaping and Xeriscape Landscaping help to minimize watering… Here are thoughts from many gardeners throughout America about their favorite drought tolerant plants. High Country Gardens has a whole spectrum of water-wise choices. Here are drought tolerant trees.

Check out more photos and info on https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com 🙂


Baby Moose Plays In Lawn Sprinkler

May 8, 2010

A friend of mine sent me this link of baby moose playing in a lawn sprinkler. It is really cute and has a few surprises, as well….Like, wow, there’s mama, too!

My friend’s words to me and I share them with you: This video WILL make your day…Enjoy! If you listen really close in the audio you can hear the woman who is recording this trying to keep her kids quiet in the background. Worth listening to several times, and the music is absolutely perfect for the video! It is posted on wimp.com if you want to explore a few more.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls

March 7, 2010

The Orange County Register (6 March 2010) ran an article Barn Owl webcam a surprise hit about the webcam at Starr Ranch Sanctuary. That got me googling for more barn owl info and I found some very interesting links!

We thought we had a barn owl that loves to perch on our chimney in Reno, almost always at night but sometimes at dusk. There is another one in the neighborhood that answers his/her calls. It’s neat but also seems to follow the old Apache Indian folklore of predicting a death. According to the same owl mythology link in the Sierras (where Reno is), native Indians believed the Great Horned Owl captured the souls of the dead and carried them to the underworld. Thanks to the recordings of the different owl calls on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site, we now realize it is a Great Horned Owl. We reviewed all the recordings on the owl pages and “our owl” call is exactly like the one recorded for the Great Horned Owl – only it can go on and on and on and on….. Ah, according to the Oregon Zoo, mating season can be as early as February – so maybe that was the reason! It was February that loooong night of owl calls. I also learned that the female has the lower voice, but the response was too faint to distinguish which was lower…. 🙂

Here’s a radio show dedicated to birds called Birdnote.

The Hungry Owl Project has a camsite and photos as well.

I have other birding blogs and other child activities at https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com 😮


NWF Wildlife Watch

February 11, 2010

Become a Wildlife Watch treasure hunter!

National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Watch is a national, nature-watching program created for people of all ages. The National Wildlife Federation can use your help to track the health and behavior of wildlife and plant species nationwide. You can also learn interesting tidbits on the Wildlife Watch website – wildlife news and facts, new ideas for attracting wildlife to your backyard and community. Check it out now on www.nwf.org/wildlifewatch and see what all is available to do!

Once you are finished with exploring your own back yard, you can get more ideas from NatureFind. It is an online destination database you can use to easily find a perfect spot for watching nature close to home. It also helps you discover what parks and trails are near you.

All you do is enter your zip code and check what activities you are interested in at http://www.nwf.org/naturefind to learn what is available around you!

Check out https://mygrandmasue.wordpress.com for more interesting things and ideas! 🙂


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