By Joe Sebastiani, Ashland Nature Center Manager
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have won the Super Bowl, local fans now have to find something else to do for the remainder of winter. How about participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count! Ashland and Abbott’s Mill Nature Centers will join birders from all over the world for this year’s Great Backyard Bird Count! We invite you to join us on our field trip to find birds in Kent County, Delaware on Saturday, February 17, 8am to 4pm. Meet at either Abbott’s Mill Nature Center in Milford or Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin. We will meet up and all go birding for the day together. Call (302) 239-2334 if you would like to register. $20 for DNS members and $30 for non-members.
The GBBC is a worldwide citizen science effort to take a snapshot of bird distribution between February 16 and 19. You can participate by looking for birds in your yard, or wherever you want to go including parks, wildlife refuges, the beach, etc. Bird for at least 15 minutes, and enter your sightings. Follow the link for the count above for directions on how to submit your findings. Participate on your own anywhere you want to look for birds, or join our Delaware Nature Society trip to Kent County!
Now, let me share a few statistics from the GBBC in 2017. Worldwide, 6,285 species were found, which means well over half the 10,000 bird species on earth were seen within a 4-day period last February! That is completely amazing to me. Columbia took first place, where 1,042 species of birds were tallied. This makes sense, since Columbia has the highest biodiversity of birds for any country. The United States came in 7th place with 669 species. In Delaware, observers found 147 species, and we placed 26th out of the 50 states. Not too bad considering Delaware is a small state. 952 bird checklists were submitted here during the 4-day period, which is a lot of birding for our 3-county state over 4 days. Click here to see the overall species list for last year’s GBBC in Delaware. We’ll see how many species Delaware birders come up with this year, but my guess is that 147 species will be tough to beat. Will we submit over 1,000 checklists? It might be a nice target to surpass.
February is my least favorite month around here. Football is over. It is cold. Nature is in a steady-state of ice, with wildlife waiting until the weather breaks. The first pitch of the baseball season is still a ways off. For some outdoor fun, get out for the Great Backyard Bird Count and breathe some fresh air while you add to our knowledge of bird distribution. Better yet, join me and Matt on the 17th. Have fun!