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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Break out binoculars for the Great Backyard Bird Count

Sage grouse - Photo/Ted Schroeder
Sage grouse - Photo/Ted Schroeder
No backyard?

No problem.

No problem if you want to participate in the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

A yard is not needed. One only needs an interest in birds and a little spare time to focus a pair of binoculars.

The Great Backyard Bird Count, a national event, is for everyone. The annual event, which will be conducted Feb. 15-18, has more than 10,000 participants from throughout North America each year.

Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during a four-day period.

To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count website at www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ .

During last year’s count, 26 species were spotted in La Grande, 12 in Enterprise, 11 in Elgin, 22 in Summerville and 18 in Wallowa.

A total of 203 species were spotted in Oregon during the 2007 count. The total number of birds counted was 49,055, according to the GBBC’s website. Topping the count statewide was the Canada goose at 22,531. The Canada goose was followed by:

• European starlings, 9,964

• dark-eyed juncos, 9,058

• American robins, 7,077

• dunlins, 6,386

• American crows, 6,099

 

Nationally, out of about 11 million birds, the Northern cardinal and the American robin were the birds spotted most frequently during the 2007 Great Backyard Bird Count.

The reason that the number was so high for the Northern cardinal nationally is that it frequently comes to feeders, said Trent Bray of the Grande Ronde Bird Club. He said he believes that a number of the birds spotted during the count are those coming to feeders.

A short-eared owl was photographed in Union County by La Grande's Ted Schroeder during the 2007 Great Backyard Bird Count. The picture was a finalist in the Great Backyard Bird Count's national photo contest.
A short-eared owl was photographed in Union County by La Grande's Ted Schroeder during the 2007 Great Backyard Bird Count. The picture was a finalist in the Great Backyard Bird Count's national photo contest.
Bray said the count is an excellent means of getting people interested in this region’s bird population.

“Public awareness is important,’’ said Bray, owner of the Bobolink, a birding supply store.

People can monitor the day-to-day progress of this year’s count in terms of what is being counted anywhere in North America by going to the GBBC’s website.

Everyone who participates in the count will be entered in a national drawing for prizes from the Great Backyard Bird Count organization. The prizes include birding books, bird feeders, birding CDs and DVDs and binoculars.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithrology and the National Audubon Society.

For local information about the Great Backyard Bird Count, call Bray at the Bobolink, 963-2888.

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