The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Audubon Society. It engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone, from beginners to experts, can be a “citizen scientist” in this way. This year’s event is scheduled for today through Monday.
The Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is encouraging everyone to join in the fun this year, either at home or at the refuge. Jane and J. P. Brantley, the refuge’s education directors, will be counting at the Fred Loetscher Bird Blind 9 a.m. Saturday., and anyone interested is welcome to join them there to see how it’s done, then do their own count in their own backyard on another day or days.
Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes on one or more days during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time and report them to the event’s website (www.birdcount.org). It’s free, fun, and easy — and it helps the birds.
In 2010, more than half of the participants surveyed considered themselves beginner or intermediate birders. They submitted more than 97,300 check-lists, reporting more than 900 species and creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.
The Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge is a 500-acre preserve, located 13 miles from Danville (on Carpenter Creek Road just off Ky. 37) in the Parksville knob land and bordering a stretch of the North Rolling Fork. It includes five main trails (one over a knob), a bluebird trail with a dozen bluebird boxes, four ponds, a bird blind, an education center/pavilion, and an observation gazebo. The refuge, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2005, is a non- profit organization and relies on donations and volunteers for upkeep. For more information, go to www.ckwr.org.