Outdoors Latest

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

A northern cardinal perches in the snow. Steve Gifford/USFWS photo A northern cardinal perches in the snow. Steve Gifford/USFWS photo

Birders and bird lovers worldwide are encouraged to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 16-19, with several local events offered to mark the weekend. 

• Walk the Jackson County Greenway 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, with Mainspring Conservation Trust and Birders of the Tuckaseegee Watershed for a bird-focused stroll. The event will start with a brief intro to the Great Backyard Bird Count initiative and e-Bird app, then commence with a walk along the greenway led by local birder David Nestler. Nestler will help the group identify the birds they see and hear, honing their birding skills along the way. Participants who contribute to the Great Backyard Bird Count after the walk will receive a free embroidered patch. Free, with loaner binoculars and spotting scopes available. Weather-dependent. Register at mainspringconserves.org/events.

• From a bird mist netting demonstration to birding walks and crafts, the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will be celebrating the Great Backyard Bird Count 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. An introduction to the app eBird will be offered at 10 a.m., beginning bird walks at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.,  and a live raptor demonstration at 3 p.m. Indoor exhibits, bird crafts and bird mist netting demonstrations will be held during all or most of the event, with a bird mist netting demonstration livestreamed at 10 a.m. The program is free with the standard parking fee.

Launched in 1998, the Great Backyard Bird Count asks participants to count birds for as little as 15 minutes or as long as they wish over one or more of the four days.

 Each checklist submitted helps researchers learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them. To participate, report sightings online at birdcount.org.

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