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Merlins (year-round island residents) are members of the falcon family. - Photo by Brian Kyle
Merlins (year-round island residents) are members of the falcon family.
— image credit: Photo by Brian Kyle

Counting – not just watching – birds, goes the extra mile by helping scientists gather information to improve bird conservation.

Perhaps it’s time to learn what to call those streaky brown birds with red caps, and which woodpecker species is which.

This weekend presents that opportunity during winter’s most popular cyber bird blitz.

So hang up a suet cake, dispense some birdseed and refill birdbaths in preparation for this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count from Friday through Monday (Feb. 14-17).

Almost 100 different bird species over-winter here, a fact well-known by feather fanatics. Last year’s GBBC results tallied up 97 species in the Comox-Strathcona area (which includes Campbell River).

Grab the binoculars and get out there, to shorelines, riversides, parks, balconies – or just the backyard, to do some significant bird-counting.

This casual little event puts local birds on the map and gives researchers a snapshot of February’s feathers.

Birds need about a week to zone in on a new birdfeeder, so don’t delay in putting out fresh birdseed and other bird magnets.

Find info at: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/canada. Print out a FREE coastal B.C. bird checklist to learn which songbirds, shorebirds and raptors actually stay in our area all winter long.

There is no registration fee for the event; a computer and 15 minutes is all it takes.

 

E-mail Christine at wildernesswest@shaw.ca.

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