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Backyard bird count approaches

blue jay
Blue jays are spotted during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Photo by Patricia Blyler

Lots of people turned to birdwatching during the COVID-19 pandemic, seeking enjoyment and relaxation.

Chickadees, cardinals, finches and other birds are doing their part to lift human spirits.

The 24th annual Great Backyard Bird Count from Feb. 12-15 is an great opportunity for all birdwatchers to use their skills.

People from Fort Macleod and around the world count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, and then enter their checklists at

“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a simple, welcoming project that both new and veteran birdwatchers enjoy,” said David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“Birds are everywhere and can be counted in backyards, neighbourhoods, suburban parks, wild areas, and cities. Scientists need the eyes of the world to collect information about where the birds are.”

During the 2020 count, birdwatchers set new records for the event, turning in nearly 250,000 lists of birds seen, from more than 100 countries, identifying nearly 7,000 of the world’s estimated 10,000 bird species.

Data gathered by the Great Backyard Bird Count and other survey projects highlight changes in the numbers and distribution of wild birds over time.