Audubon invites locals to help with backyard bird count

Audubon Miami Valley, covering Butler and Preble Counties, is a local affiliate of the National Audubon Society.

Photo provided by AMV

Audubon Miami Valley, covering Butler and Preble Counties, is a local affiliate of the National Audubon Society.

By Betty Pu

If you want a chance to commune with nature without having to slog through the forest, here is something you can do from the comfort of your own backyard: count the birds.

For four days beginning Friday, Feb. 18,  Audubon Miami Valley is holding its Great Backyard Bird Count. Anyone can participate. All you need is the ability to watch, listen, and count. 

The purpose of the Great Backyard Bird Count is to get a snapshot of how birds are doing over a broad area during a defined period of time, according to Audubon Miami Valley. Photo provided by AMV

This local bird census is part of a tabulated count done every year by the national Audubon Society.  Participants are asked to spend at least 15 minutes (or for as long as they want) on one or more of the four days, counting the birds they can see and hear.

Individual counters should send their lists to AMV which submits the data to the National Audubon Society and other researchers who use the information to understand how birds are doing in the environment. According to GBBC,  the observations of more than 160,000 participants in one recent count were submitted online “creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.”

Getting involved is easy and fun, and it can be done wherever birds are found. On the program’s website, participants can view real-time maps and charts to see what other people are reporting both during and after the count. 

If you want to participate but don’t know your birds very well, AMV recommends several helpful tools:

The event is free and open to the public. As a local chapter of the National Audubon Society in Butler and Preble Counties, AMV says its mission is to protect and restore local natural ecosystems for the Earth’s biological diversity with a concentration on birds and other wildlife. 

They accomplish this through community conservation projects, educational events, and field trips. 

“Our members in Butler and Preble Counties generously support our efforts. We participate in Oxford’s EarthFest every year, sponsor a K-12 Student Art Exhibition and wildflower planting at the Oxford Community Art Center,”  saidLiz Woedl, the volunteer and funding member of AMV. 

The organization also funds and runs the Christmas Bird Count in Oxford, covering a 15-mile radius around the city annually, in which they count every bird they can discover, she said. 

A previous version of the story said the count started on Feb. 14. The correct date is Feb. 18.