Every year over Presidents Day weekend there is a wonderful event called the Great Backyard Bird Count. It is a great nationwide citizen science project that anyone can participate in. You don't have to have a backyard, you can count birds anywhere you like, on the lakefront, in your school yard, in a forest preserve, a national park, a city park or along your street. You can do it once over the course of the four day weekend or as many times as you like as long as you enter each count separately on the GBBC website. I am an ambassador for Cornell for this event so we try to publicise it at the Museum and encourage people to take part in it. Which is great except for one small detail, invariably this weekend ends up being utterly frigid and miserable in Chicago!
In previous years I have gone out risking hypothermia and frost bite and come back with three bird species - Canada Goose, Mallard and American Crow - not exactly inspiring! It is hard to muster up much enthusiasm with returns like that! Anyway, I persevere. Sure enough today was bitterly cold with a strong wind blasting out of the north and lake effect snow blowing around, so I wrapped up like an Eskimo and did a circuit along the lake and through the park. Amazingly I did manage to find a few more species:
and, of course, the American Crow
It is times like this that I think about Kathie at Sycamore Canyon she has a wonderful cavalcade of colorful bird species passing through her garden for what seems like the whole year - hmmm, why do I live here again? Anyway, there is light at the end of the tunnel, this winter is not going on for ever. I found this......
Slowly things are turning toward spring.
So if you live somewhere slightly warmer than me, or even if you don't, you have one more day to get outside and count birds. Check out the website for instructions if you haven't done it before and go out and see what you can find. You might, like me, be pleasantly surprised! Now it is time for me to have a hot bath to remove the chill from my bones!
Photo Credits - CJT
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