It’s almost time for the Great Backyard Bird Count. This annual event is a fun way to get your kids involved as citizen scientists. In 2016, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 130 countries counted 5,689 species of birds on more than 162,000 checklists!
How To Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count:
Bird watchers of all ages count birds for 15 minutes on at least one of the days of the Great Backyard Bird Count. You can count from any location in the world! Submit your bird count numbers online to help scientists collect data on wild bird populations. The next GBBC is set for February 17-20, 2017. Learn more at GBBC.BirdCount.org
All of my kids are interested in nature and wildlife, but my 7-year-old is the best bird watcher. He takes a pocket sized Bird Field Guide on all our hikes and camping trips so he can try to identify all the birds we see. Last summer, he became really good at ID’ing just about every bird we came across. I was really proud of him.
Kids can develop their interest in science and nature by participating in opportunities like the Great Backyard Bird Count. My family is going to do it this year. It’s a no pressure way for all of us to learn more about birds together.
I want to help build our excitement about the bird count, so I pulled together a few easy ideas for how to get families ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count. Everyone in the world is invited to take part in the count. I hope you will join us!
Easy Ways To Get Your Family Ready For the Great Backyard Bird Count
1. Be on the lookout for birds everywhere you go. My kids love to look for birds. Whenever you see a bird, try to point out noticeable characteristics like colors, size and beak shape. Into the Field Guide: A Walk in the Woods helps children identify common critters, trees, flowers and more.
2. Get a Bird Guide to help you identify birds. Keep a Bird Chart handy, like the laminated chart of common North American Birds that comes with PBS Kids Look and Learn Birds by Sarah Parvis.
3. Go bird watching with binoculars. The PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds kit also includes children’s binoculars and a 64-page book with photos and helpful tips for spotting and identifying birds.
4. Download the eBird app (free).
5. Become familiar with your local birds. Make a bird checklist of common birds in your area, and mark them off as you see them.
6. Download Free Bird Activity Pages from Downtown Books. These Look and Learn activities include: how to make bird snacks (to help attract birds to your yard!), how to make a hummingbird feeder, a coloring page and a maze activity. For the young birders who really don’t mind getting their hands dirty, try dissecting the owl pellet that comes with the book Science With Stuff: Birdalicious by Melissa Stewart. We did it!
7. Get your camera ready to snap a pic of any birds you see. You never know, a rare or uncommon bird could be passing through your area! A photo of the bird can help you identify it, especially if it flies away before you get a good look at it. You will also want to upload and share your bird photos on the GBBC website so other Great Backyard Bird Count participants can enjoy them.
Enter to Win All 3 Bird Books Mentioned Above!
Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below for your daily chances to win a fun and educational prize pack, which includes: PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds by Sarah Parvis, Science with Stuff: Bird-acious by Melissa Stewart, and Into the Field Guide: A Walk in the Woods by Emily Laber-Warren.
This giveaway is open to USA entrants ages 18 and up; ends February 27.
Will your family participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year? Do you have any ideas to add to how to get your family ready for the bird count? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.