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 this weekend – Burien’s Environmental Science Center (ESC) will host their annual Bird Fest event virtually for 2021, but will still offer families, friends and neighbors interactive opportunities to learn about their local birds and plants during the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This community science project goes from Friday, Feb. 12 to Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 to aid international bird research, and Bird Fest is meant to inspire folks to participate and appreciate their local birds.

Bird Fest will have a backyard bird story time, an owl presentation, and online chats about counting local birds, as well as using native plants to improve bird habitats. Presenters aim to answer questions, share tips on species identification and counting, and simply spread the joy of birding. Details of activities can be found on ESC’s event webpage, along with plenty of resources to help you count on your own, support your local birds and plants, and connect with local environmental organizations and community groups in neat ways.

Saturday, Feb. 13 online schedule:

    • Birds Storytime: 10:30-11:00 a.m.
    • Bird Count Chat: 11:30-12:00 p.m.
    • Owl Presentation: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
    • Plant & Bird Chat: 3:00-3:30 p.m.

This weekend is for the birds – help them thru Bird Fest and the Great Backyard Bird Count 1

ESC coordinates Bird Fest with sponsorship from the City of Burien to spread awareness on watershed health through creating native habitat for birds. It promotes the 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.

Since 2017, Bird Fest has been held at the Burien Community Center with free activities and presentations of environmental partners, and public bird counts at the adjacent Dottie Harper Park, In 2020, 153 people participated in the event.

In 1998, the GBBC 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, the total was 192,456. Join in to keep the numbers rising!

If you help count during this GBBC weekend, or any other day of the year, you can 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!

For more information on activities and to register for Bird Fest visit EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org or the event webpage: https://envsciencecenter.org/bird-fest/.