Bluejay

A Blue Jay takes a break from chowing down at a bird feeder in Hydetown.

For those who enjoy birding, birds, science, or may just want something to do, the Great Backyard Bird Count is back this year.

The event starts today and runs through Feb. 15. A “citizen science” project, the bird count asks that children and adults throughout the world focus on their bird feeders and count and identify the different winged friends.

The event is hosted by the National Audubon Society and The Cornell Lab.

According to the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) website, “these observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.” During last year’s bird count, new records were set as nearly 250,000 bird lists were turned in. Listed were nearly 7,000 of the world’s 10,000 bird species.

The bird count was first started in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. When it started, it was the first online citizen-science project. This project does not require a vast knowledge of science, just a love for nature.

“The GBBC is a simple, welcoming project that both new and veteran birdwatchers enjoy,” said David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Benson Memorial Library had kits available for families to create their own bird feeders. Megin Sewak, of the library, said that this is really a family activity as it only requires watching for birds for 15 minutes one day during the bird count.

She also added that those looking for an upperhand should get Black Oil Sunflower seeds as winter birds love them. Some common birds that you might see are Northern Cardinals, American Robins, Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, American Crows and many more.

For anyone who may have participated in the past, this year has changed due to the pandemic. This year, if you are new to the count, you can download the Merlin Bird ID app. If you have counted before, you are asked to try the eBird Mobile app or the eBird website.

More information about how to have your count counted can be found at Birdcount.org/participate.

Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.

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