Make birds count for Bird Fest!
Do you want to learn what birds are in your backyard? Do you want to help researchers take a snapshot of their populations? You can do both, and more for Bird Fest. This free annual event will be virtual for 2021, but will still offer families, friends and neighbors an opportunity to learn about their local birds and plants while participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which goes from Feb 12-Feb 15. There will be online chats, a presentation, and a story time throughout the day to share identification and counting tips, answer questions, and simply be awed by birds. There are also plenty of resources below to help you count on your own, investigate your local birds and plants, and connect with local organizations and community groups in neat ways. This annual event is sponsored by the City of Burien to help folks help their watershed.
View schedule details below, along with a variety of birding resources!
Backyard Birds Story Time with Kharli Rose and the Burien Library at 10:30-11:00 am PST REGISTER HERE!
Ages 2 and older can join ESC naturalist Kharli Rose and the Burien Library in a fun birding session! Take part in songs, stories and guessing games on what, and where birds are, and what they sound like, with cutouts and bird calls. Learn four key bird IDs and how to use them during the Great Backyard Bird Count!
What does it LOOK like?
What does it SOUND like?
WHERE is it?
WHAT is it doing?
Bird Chats & Counts at Dottie Harper Park with Kevin “Porcupine” O’Malley 11:30-12:00 pm PST REGISTER HERE!
Every year, the public has helped us count birds for at least 15 minutes at Dottie Harper Park, while hosting activities with partners inside the Burien Community Center. This year we’ll still conduct a count and share what we’ve found, along with what we found from 2017 on. You can also share what you’ve been finding with us, as well as ask questions.
We’ll speak with Kevin “Porcupine” O’Malley, lead naturalist and birder of South Sound Nature School, which offers adult birding classes. He has led educational walks with kindergarten through 8th grade home- and elementary-school children since 2004, and if you came to Bird Fest in 2019, you may have counted with him! This year he’ll look and listen for birds alone in the morning and report back on what he found. He’s also eager to hear what you’ve found!
Three Owls of Metro Puget Sound by Ed Dominguez 1:00-2:00 pm PST REGISTER HERE!
January and February are courtship and mating times for our resident owls. Join us as we discuss three commonly seen (and heard) owls of urban Puget Sound with naturalist Ed Dominguez. Identification, vocalizations, unique physical traits, and life cycles will be shared. Get to know your local owls and the space we share with them… You may discover a pair nesting in your neighborhood!
A native of Mt Shasta, Ed Dominguez obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University. Growing up in the southeastern Cascades Range, Ed was introduced to the plants and animals of the mountains at an early age by his father. Knowledgeable in geology, trees, wildflowers, and mammals, Ed particularly enjoys birding and bird songs. He leads owl prowls, bat walks, nature hikes and presents programs on a variety of naturalist topics, including through his Getting Wild blog and YouTube channel.
Plant Chat 3:00-3:30 pm PST REGISTER HERE!
Do you want to know what plants attract birds to your yards or neighborhoods? How planting them helps the watershed? Or what you can expect to see springing up next season? Bring these questions and more to an informal conversation about local plants with local naturalists.
In the meantime…
For teens and adults: Watch our Making Birds Count session to learn about Winter Backyard Birds from Ed Dominguez and local bird counts from Kharli Rose.
Literally check out some King County Library books on birds.
Watch our Toddler Time Birding Bits (for ages 3 and up) with Kharli Rose to look and listen for local backyard birds through songs, felt board games and exploring outdoors. These were recorded in spring of 2020.
WHY BIRD FEST?
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 (GBBC), 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 2020, 268,674 worldwide bird watchers helped in the four-day count to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of 6,699 species of birds. In 2019, 224,781 people took part. In 2018, it was 192,456. Join in to keep the numbers rising!
If you help count during this GBBC weekend, or any other day, you’ll enter species into eBird, which is a global online program for collecting bird observations every day of the year (and is a phone app!). Researchers can’t be everywhere, including your backyard, so just 15 minutes can make a big difference for your local birds!
Check out additional information from our Bird Fest event partners.
HELPFUL BIRDING RESOURCES
For more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count visit birdcount.org. You’ll find simple tools on identifying birds, submitting them for the count, and any steps in between. These include phone and web apps below.
Find out more about ebird.org
For help identifying local western Washington birds, visit Seattle Audubon Society’s BirdWeb.
Use Audubon’s Native Plant Database to discover what native plants will attract birds to your neighborhood and where to purchase them locally.
For information on feeding backyard birds visit Project Feeder Watch.
There are too many wonderful resources to list, but below are some local brochures, books, and even a game that tests all skill levels on North American birds.