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, on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Bird Fest.
The event goes from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 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 with local environmental organizations. Family and bird-friendly activities will include hourly walks and counts, identification games, observing bird skins and mounts, dissecting owl pellets, and other activities for young children. Last year, more than 100 people attended after the area’s largest recorded snowfall in February and counted 66 local birds in the name of science, with five species being different than the two years prior.
Hourly, naturalists will deliver tips on how to identify birds by sight and sound and have participants help count them for 15 minutes next door at Dottie Harper Park at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. At 10:45 a.m., 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. At 12:30 p.m., Kharli Rose of the Environmental Science Center will reinforce that if you know how to count, you can help birds in some local community science counts and will provide details on the Great Backyard Bird Count. She will also share some easy, basic birding tips on how to identify what species a bird is, and what it is not, by asking “What does it look like? What does it sound like? Where is it? or What is it doing?”
Participating organizations include Environmental Science Center, Seattle Audubon Society, Rainier Audubon Society, Seward Park Audubon Center, Washington Native Plant Society, Nature Stewards and the National Wildlife Federation. 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. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. This has been a game changer for conservation efforts as no single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time. This information provides a “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations, which are dynamic and constantly in flux. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions concerning weather and climate influences, migratory patterns, diseases, and diversity in urban, rural and natural areas, and more.
If you help count at the event on Feb. 15, those species will be entered into eBird, which is the global online program collecting bird observations every day of the year. However, if you cannot attend Bird Fest, you can still count Feb14-17, or any other time, and submit your findings on eBird. Scientists cannot be everywhere you are, especially in your backyard, so just 15 minutes can make a big difference for birds!
To REGISTER and find or more information on Bird Fest, please visit EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.