By Joe Sebastiani, Seasonal Program Team Leader
Hank Davis is a professional photographer, board member for the Delaware Nature Society, and is now a winner of the Great Backyard Bird Count photography contest. Each year, the Great Backyard Bird Count has an associated photography contest, soliciting photographs from birders that are participating in the count. Five “overall best photograph” winners are chosen. In 2013, Hank’s photo of two feeding American Flamingo, pictured below, was chosen for 5th place, out of 7,000 entries. This is quite an accomplishment! Congratulations Hank!!
You might say, why flamingos? Why Cuba? Last year, the Great Backyard Bird Count went global. Essentially, during a four-day period each February, birders count birds anywhere on earth, not just the backyard, and submit their sightings to the count at http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc. The count is run by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in order to get a snapshot of bird populations around the globe in mid-winter. This citizen science research is generating very important data that will answer questions about bird populations, movements, winter range, and will ultimately help to conserve birds and their habitats. It just so happened, that during the count period last year, Hank was on the Delaware Nature Society bird survey trip that I was leading to Cuba. We tried very hard to enter as many bird checklists from Cuba as we could, knowing that we might be the only birders representing the nation for the count.
Hank’s excellent flamingo photo is not his only entry that was recognized. Below is a great photo of a Cuban Emerald that he captured, also on Cayo Coco, Cuba. The Cuban Emerald photo was awarded an honorable mention in the “overall best photo” category.
If you want to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count in 2014, just go birding anywhere you want and submit your sightings to the website I provided above. The dates of the count are February 14-17 and you are encouraged to enter as many checklists as you want, whether they are from your backyard, a local park, or while you are visiting another country! Take a look at the results from the 2013 count, where 4,004 species of birds were reported from around the world, and in Delaware, 144 were reported.