Do This Weekend: Great Backyard Bird Count

Oregon wildernessOregon wilderness

Oregon wilderness

Sometimes creating a great travel experience isn’t just about decide where you’re going to take a trip. Sometimes it’s about doing something to ensure that others who travel can experience things you might take for granted. This weekend, February 15-18th, 2013, you have a chance to enjoy a weekend and home, while at the same time performing a valuable service to the environment and future travelers to your home town.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual 4-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. While here in the Pacific Northwest it’s easy to look outside and see birds in every tree, this environmental initiative is a worldwide event.

As a bonus, you can count wherever you happen to be – even if you’re traveling. Counts are needed from all environments, so rural, suburban, urban, and natural areas all can be counted. You don’t need to be a birding expert either – everyone is welcome – and it’s a great event to do with the kids.

Participants should plan on setting aside 15 minutes on one of the days to take a count, and then enter the number of birds of each species they see during their count period on the GBBC website. If you have longer, or wish to count on more than one day, feel free. All information collect helps scientists document and understand the movement of bird species.

Your efforts in the GBBC may inspire you to greater stewardship in your backyard, and if so, here in Washington there is a program for certifying your backyard as a wildlife sanctuary. Your efforts contribute to making your city a better place to live and to visit.

Where will you be counting this weekend?

Note:  The Great Backyard Bird Count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada and sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.

Photo credit:  author’s personal collection

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Israel, Stockholm, and a Baltic cruise.

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