Local birder Steve Smith wants to encourage the people of Quesnel to participate in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a weekend when more than 160,000 people around the globe record the birds (number and species) in their backyard.
Smith, an avid bird photographer, has been birding since he was around six or seven years old and his granddad first began buying him bird books. He finds birds fascinating because they act as a predictor for environmental differences, like those caused by climate change.
“We’re seeing a drastic drop in numbers, [with] the small finches, the pine siskins, the redpolls, that kind of stuff,” he says. “Is it global warming? Is it — who knows? But the last few years, the birds are taking a beating.”
He says there are many birders in Quesnel, and he’s hoping their numbers continue to grow to help improve the data available on birds in the area.
All it takes to participate is to take at least 15 minutes on one (or more) day(s) of the three-day bird count and tally the number and kinds of birds you see. Anyone participating simply needs to create an online account at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/ to get going.
Once someone registers their area, they’ll also be provided with a guide telling them the kinds of birds living in the area.
The annual bird count was first started in 1998, and, along with other bird count endeavours like the Christmas Bird Count, it helps scientists understand the big picture of what is happening to bird populations.
This knowledge can help them answer questions such as how will the weather and climate change influence bird populations, or what kinds of differences in bird diversity are observed in cities, compared to suburban, rural and natural areas.
The Great Backyard Bird Count runs this weekend, from Friday, Feb. 15 to Sunday Feb. 18.