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Make birds count at Bird Fest!
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, and more, Saturday, Feb 16 at Bird Fest. This free 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, observing bird skins and mounts, dissecting owl pellets, crafting a pair of binoculars and various activities for children. Participating organizations include Environmental Science Center, Seattle Audubon Society, Rainier Audubon Society, Seward Park Audubon Center, Washington Native Plant Society, Nature Stewards, National Wildlife Federation, White Center Community Development Association, Wild Birds Unlimited and the City of Burien Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
Hourly, naturalists from the Environmental Science Center and Seattle Audubon Society Young Birders will deliver tips on how to identify birds and have participants help count them next door at Dottie Harper Park. Ed Dominguez of Seward Park Audubon Center will have a presentation on winter water birds to help you distinguish ducks from grebes, the divers from the dabblers and what interesting behaviors you can watch for in local waterways this season. Marie-West Johnson of Rainier Audubon will pinpoint common backyard birds and the plants that attract them. Knowing what plants and seeds they require will help you draw in more variety or sustain the ones you have around. Plus, you can put your identification skills to the test on a short bird count afterward. Eir Cheeka of the White Center Community Development Association will share some Lushootseed words for some of our native birds and plants and also talk about outdoor education.
The Environmental Science Center has coordinated Bird Fest with sponsorship from the City of Burien to spread awareness on watershed health through creating native habitat for birds. 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. In 2018, 192,456 worldwide bird watchers helped in the four-day count to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of 6,310 species of birds.
If you help count at the event on Feb. 16, those species will be entered into eBird, which is the global online program collecting bird observations every day of the year. If you cannot attend Bird Fest, count that weekend or any other time 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.