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Written by:  Megan Finke
Date: February 1, 2012

Spend time with your family outdoors this month and join bird watchers of all ages across North America for the 15th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20. Anyone — from beginner bird watchers to experts — can watch and count birds in their own backyard, then enter their observations online.

The Great Backyard Bird Count, hosted by Audubon, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, then creates a snapshot of more than 600 bird species' whereabouts across the continent.

Plan to count birds for at least 15 minutes at a time, then record the greatest amount of each species you see. Enter your results online at www.birdcount.org starting       Feb. 17 at 7 a.m. You can access bird guides, tips for optimizing your birding experience and additional information online at www.birdsource.org/gbbc.

Local parks are hosting free related events throughout the entire weekend; a few are highlighted below:

  • Hike one mile with a park naturalist and identify birds by sight and sound at Historic Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh Feb. 17 and at Crowder District Park in Apex Feb. 18. Both events are 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Walk through the trails and finish with doughnuts and hot drinks at Breakfast with the Birds at Historic Yates Mill County Park Feb. 18 and at Crowder District Park Feb. 20. Both events are 8:30-10 a.m.
  • Take a guided evening hike at Historic Yates Mill County Park Feb. 19, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Learn how to attract wildlife to your garden and help plant in Crowder District Park's educational gardens Feb. 19, 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Hear bird stories and participate in bird activities at Blue Jay Point County Park in Raleigh during the presentation, My Yard is Full of Birds! Feb. 20, 10-11:30 a.m.


Some of these events require pre-registration. For more information and directions to all three parks, visit www.wakegov.com/parks.






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