Do you want to learn what birds are in your backyard? Do you want to help scientists take a snapshot of their populations? You can do both Saturday, Feb 17 at Bird Fest. The event goes from 10 am – 2 pm at the Burien Community Center and offers families, friends and neighbors an opportunity to learn about their local birds and plants while participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.
There will be presentations, counts, booths and activities for all ages. Family and bird-friendly activities will include hourly walks and counts, identification games, touching bird skins and mounts, dissecting owl pellets, crafting a pair of binoculars and other activities for children. Participating organizations include Seattle Audubon Society, Rainier Audubon Society, Seward Park Audubon Center, King Conservation District, Washington Native Plant Society, Nature Stewards, Wild Birds Unlimited and the City of Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
Hourly, ESC’s Kharli Rose will deliver tips to ID birds and then have participants help count them next door at Dottie Harper Park. Andy Waters owns Wild Birds Unlimited in Burien and will present on how to attract birds to your backyard. Knowing what plants and seeds they require will help you draw in more variety or sustain the ones you have around. Jennifer Lang of Seattle Audubon Society will share stories from 10 years of Puget Sound Seabird Surveys and let you know how to take part. These have grown to 122 waterfront sites, including Seahurst Park. Volunteers diligently identify, count, and collect data on seabirds in nearshore habitats to learn more about seabird hotspots, both for birding and for conservation.
The Environmental Science Center has coordinated Bird Fest with sponsorship from the City of Burien. It promotes the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited. In 1998, this was the first online community-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Last year, 240,418 worldwide bird watchers helped in the four-day count to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
If you help count on Feb. 17, those species will be entered into eBird, which is the global online program collecting bird observations every day of the year. If you cannot be at the fest, count that weekend or count whenever you can and submit your findings on eBird. Just 15 minutes can make a big difference for birds.
For more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count visit gbbc.birdcount.org
For more information on the eBird, visit www.ebird.org
For help identifying local birds, visit Seattle Audubon Society’s Birdweb.