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The Great Backyard Bird Count makes science fun

Birdwatchers often spot chickadees during the Great Backyard Bird Count
Birdwatchers often spot chickadees during the Great Backyard Bird Count
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This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count (February 12-15, 2010) gives homeschoolers a fun way to participate in scientific observation while helping scientists answer questions about winter bird populations in North America.

Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes per day during the bird count. At the end of the four-day period, they enter their findings on the Great Backyard Bird Count’s website. Scientists use the data collected from thousands of volunteers for research into bird migration, population changes and conservation.

How homeschoolers can get involved

To get involved, simply choose an observing spot, such as the window by your backyard birdfeeder, your neighborhood playground, the Pioneers Park Nature Center, or one of the nearby lakes. Count the total number of each bird species you see at one time during the observing session. After the four-day bird count is over, enter your findings on the Great Backyard Bird Count’s website

To help make your count easier, you can download a printable tally sheet here . Not sure of the birds in our area? Check out Cornell University’s on-line bird guide  or buy a bird identification book. Birds of Nebraska Field Guide is easy to use because it lists only birds found in Nebraska and groups the birds by color.

By participating in the bird count, children learn bird identification and strengthen their math skills. To incorporate art, have kids draw pictures of the birds they see or practice their photography skills by taking pictures of the birds at your bird feeder.

Great Backyard Bird Count Activity Day

On Saturday, February 13, 2010, join other birders at the Pioneers Park Nature Center from 9-11:30 a.m. for the Great Backyard Bird Count Activity Day. Nature Center Staff will help you identify birds, give tips for feeding birds and help you participate in the bird count. No registration is needed for this free event. For more info, contact Wild Bird Habitat Store, (800) 606-2553,, or the Nature Center at (402) 441-7895.


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