Today marks the start of the Great Backyard Bird Count. From February 17-20, outdoor enthusiasts will count and identify birds seen or heard in their backyards to help contribute to a global study. Data submitted online will be used to better understand migration patterns, population sizes, and other important information that can help protect species and habitats.
A number of state parks in Virginia are offering special programs to encourage participation. Chippokes State Park, located near the James River in Surry, Va., will have self-guided activities where visitors can use the iNaturalist app to identify and count birds.
“February is a great time to come to the park and shake off the winter blues, enjoy the refreshing air, and spot a variety of birds that pass through the park or make it their home,” said Chippokes State Park Manager Ben Richard in a statement.
Additional participating state parks include Hungry Mother in Marion, New River Trail in Max Meadows, and First Landing in Virginia Beach.
To participate, all you need to do is log the birds that you count in a 15-minute period on one of the four days the event takes place. The event website offers tools to help record data and identify birds that can be found on their site.
Cover Photo: Dark-Eyed Junco on a tree branch. Courtesy of Virginia State Parks.