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Backyard Bird County

Grouse rest in the trees around the picnic area at Agate Fossil Beds National Park. This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird County, and rangers at the park will be on hand to help visitors participate.

This weekend presents an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and help track bird populations.

Agate Fossil Beds is participating in the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count Friday through Monday. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., where rangers will help visitors learn about the basics of bird watching, information about birds in the area, and information about the Bird Count. They will also assist in making a Pinecone Bird Feeder for your backyard and serve up hot chocolate and snacks.

Agate Fossil Beds’ 2,200 acres, comprised of three different bird habitats attracting upland birds, prairie birds and wetlands birds, is a prime spot to take part in the important national winter bird count. With almost five miles of walking trails within the park, birders can see these three different habitats without having to go cross country. Junior Birders will receive a Bird Guide of North America by National Geographic Kids, one per family while supplies last. Other bird books are available for purchase in the Oregon Trail Museum Association bookstore in the visitor center.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is hosted by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, leaders in bird conservation. People new to birding as well as experienced birders are encouraged to participate in the count. Each year, participants’ reports track the location and numbers of familiar birds, as well as document unusual bird behavior. Patterns of migration, trends reflecting climate change, disease, and use of urban areas are all studied using the results of this program. In 2017, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in many countries counted 6,248 species of birds on more than 181,604 checklists.

It’s easy to participate.

1. Register for the count or use your existing login name and password at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/. If you have never participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count or any other Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you’ll need to create a new account. If you already created an account for last year’s GBBC, or if you’re already registered with eBird or another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login information. Be sure to check out the Great Backyard Bird Count instruction page!!

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2. Count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the GBBC. You can count for longer than that if you wish! Count birds in as many places and on as many days as you like—one day, two days, or all four days. Submit a separate checklist for each new day, for each new location, or for the same location if you counted at a different time of day. Estimate the number of individuals of each species you saw during your count period.

3. Enter your results on the GBBC website by clicking “Submit Observations” on the home page. Or download the free eBird Mobile app to enter data on a mobile device. If you already participate in the eBird citizen-science project, please use eBird to submit your sightings during the GBBC. Your checklists will count toward the GBBC. The website is full of helpful hints – both in identification of birds and submitting your results.

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