South Dakota Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

South Dakota Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

South Dakota Fish, Game & Parks
South Dakota Fish, Game & Parks

PIERRE, S.D. – -(Ammoland.com)-  Wildlife enthusiasts across the nation will be able to share their bird watching skills during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count on February 12-15.

Millions of novice and accomplished bird watchers can make their love of nature count for science and for the future during the 13th annual count, led by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Participation is free.

During Presidents’ Day weekend, anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter results at www.birdcount.org. Those reports create a real-time picture of where birds are across the continent and contribute valuable information for science and conservation.

Participants from 61 South Dakota locations submitted 262 checklists during the 2009 count, reporting a total of 92 species. The most commonly reported bird species were downy woodpeckers, house sparrows, black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, and American goldfinches. The most numerous species reported by South Dakota counters were Canada geese, cackling geese, mallards, house sparrows, and American crows.

Huron counters submitted the most checklists, followed by Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Rapid City, and Pierre participants. Fort Pierre birders reported 40 species, the highest number in the state.

If you are a less experienced birder, use the count as an excuse to hone your skills. Many resources can help you improve. View a series of short and helpful instructional videos at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Web site: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1270

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks has a free color guide to backyard birds that can be requested at this Web site: http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/Diversity/BackyardBirdsBook.htm

Everyone can participate in the count, from beginning bird watchers to seasoned experts. During the count, bird watchers tally birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time.

People are encouraged to report birds in public lands and local parks, as well as backyards. Participants enter their numbers online at www.birdcount.org and can explore sightings maps, lists, and charts as the count progresses.