Cool Things-The Great Backyard Bird Count

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This is usually pretty well known in homeschooling circles but what the heck! 

To quote the website-“The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.”

Basically you record the kinds and numbers of birds you see in a given area durring a given time.  Then you submit your results to the GBBC.  They have forms you can use, but you can keep track any way you like.  You can do this for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as you like) and for as many as four or as little as one day (or anything in between).  There are guidelines so check the website, but it’s not complicated. 

Here is the link:

 http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

We have done this as a family for the past 4 years.  Every year I try and add a little *something* to the count.  One year we signed up for Project Feederwatch, one year we made sketches of the birds, one year we tied it into other projects in an attempt to have our yard certified by the National Wildlife Foundation.  This year we  made some special bird and squirrel food. 

We have a special area set up outside of our big living room windows where we bird watch.  There are several bird feeders, corn for the squirrels, fruit, suet and virtual no human traffic.   We have quite a bunch of squirrels, chickadees, mourning doves, blue jays, finches and nuthatches as well as some juncos, woodpeckers (even a Pileated once in a while!) and the occasional cardinal.

Squirrel Treat

stale bread cut or ripped into chunks

chunky peanut butter, slightly melted

mix together and put out in bowls or pans

Simple no?  You would think the little buggers had died and gone to heaven! AND they are leaving the bird feeders alone….until it’s gone that is 😉

Homemade Suet

Chunky Peanut Butter, slightly melted

vegetable shortening

shelled sunflower seeds

dried meal worms

Mix all materials together and form into balls.  Freeze and place in old onion bags to hang in trees.  This won’t work unless it’s cold out (not a problem here!) because it will melt.  Our woodpeckers LOVE this stuff!

Off to do my counting!

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