Join The Great Backyard Bird Count –
Friday , Saturday, Sunday, Monday February 14, 15, 16, 17, 2020
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the four-day event and report their sightings online at birdcount.org. Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world.
Each checklist submitted during the GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share. Last year, more than 160,000 participants submitted their bird observations online, creating the largest instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations ever recorded.
Be a citizen scientist and count birds wherever you like to watch, one or more days from February 14-17. Spend at least 15 minutes at a location. Although many people participate by watching at one location, data is also welcome from anywhere. Each time you enter a checklist on www.ebird.com, you’ll be asked what kind of count you did, your start time, how much time you spent counting birds, and how many people contributed to the checklist. Information you provide can be the first sign that individual species may be increasing or declining from year to year. Data gathered over many years help highlight how a species’ range may be expanding or shrinking. A big change, noted consistently over a period of years, is an indication that something is happening in the environment that is affecting the birds and should be followed up on. GBBC information also allows researchers to look at what kinds of birds inhabit different areas, such as cities versus suburbs. Of the 4,004 species reported, Mexico tops the list with "This count is so fun because anyone can take part -- we all learn and watch birds together -- whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher. I like to invite new birders to join in and share the experience. Get involved, invite your friends, and see how your favorite spot stacks up."
Gary Langham, Chief Scientist states that bird populations are always shifting and changing. Perhaps one of the most unusual avian events of the winter of 2012-13 was a tremendous movement of Razorbills far south of their normal range. Razorbills are relatives of puffins breeding on cliffs along both the North American and European sides of the North Atlantic. Their normal distribution in the nonbreeding season is at sea off the coasts of Europe, Iceland, Greenland, and the Atlantic Provinces and north-eastern United States, rarely wandering farther south than Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Their exact wintering areas vary from year to year, depending upon the distributions of the ocean food resources upon which they feed. Prior to this winter there were only 14 records of Razorbill for Florida, mostly of single birds. Earlier this winter, to the excitement of birders, hundreds of Razorbills were seen off the Atlantic Coast of Florida and GBBC participants documented birds that had rounded the southern tip of Florida and others in the Gulf of Mexico. Why did Razorbills move so far from their normal range this winter? It probably had to do with a drop in food resources. Sea-surface temperatures were unusually warm off the mid-Atlantic region this winter, and that change may have greatly reduced the availability of prey, causing Razorbills to move farther southward in larger numbers than ever recorded before. Mexico reported 645 species, followed by the United States with 638 (reflecting the high level of participation). India follows with 544 species, then Costa Rica with 508. The top species being reported on Checklists were: Northern Cardinal (46,991), Dark-eyed Junco, Mourning Dove (41,384), Downy Woodpecker, House Finch, American Crow (31,509), Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay (30,050), American Goldfinch (30,011), and Tufted Titmouse (29,800). Many thanks to all in Highlands Country who contributed last year.
This year, the reports will be entered at http://www.ebird.com/ For information and instructions go to http://www.birdsource.org/ If you do not have access to a computer and need someone to help, call Helen 269-932-8934
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Tell your tales of great birding at our meetings, write an article and/or submit a photo for our Sightings! newsletter.
Dinner - Program - Meetings
Lake Josephine Baptist Church
111 Lake Josephine Drive, Sebring, FL 33875
6:30 Covered Dish Dinner
All meetings are FREE and open to the public!
Events to Remember
Audubon Assembly 2019
Save the Date!
Fri. & Sat. Oct, 25 & 26
Florida Audubon Assembly in Gainesville, Florida
The Audubon Assembly is Florida's premiere conservation event. Join friends - old and new - for two days of informative workshops, exciting guest speakers, and unforgettable field trips.
Staff and volunteers are hard at work preparing a one-of-a-kind experience for this year's gathering. Please stay tuned for more information. We have some big announcements to make and will fill you in on all the juicy details as soon as we are able.
Trust us, you won't want to miss this year's Assembly. Mark October 25-26 on your calendars right now.
See you in October!
Saturday, Nov. 9 - CCC Festival, at Highlands Hammock State Park
Friday, Dec. 27 - Lake Placid Christmas Bird Count Call Helen 269-932-8934
Sat. & Sun. Feb. 1-2 - Arts & Crafts Country Fair Booth in Lake Placid
Fri.-Mon, Feb 14-17 - Great Backyard Bird Count
March 28-April 3 - Highlands Birdathon Week
Saturday, April TBA Earth Day—Highlands Hammock State Park
Tuesday, September 17 “Audubon Ecology Camp" How Our Students Benefit from Teacher Training” Ms Amy Agner-Texley
Tuesday, October 15 “Wildfire” -Melissa Yunas, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist
Tuesday, November 19 “Fire and Feathers”
Steve Shattler, FWC Platt Branch
Friday, December 6 “Christmas Party at Cowpokes Watering Hole” 6:00—9:00 PM Dinner
Bring donation for the Humane Society
Tuesday. January 21 “20 Years of Unusual Observations and Anecdotes from a Florida Scrub-Jay Biologist” Michelle Dent
Tuesday, February 18 “Snail Kites and How they are Doing” Tyler Beck, Snail Kite Conservation Coordinator
Tuesday, March 17 “History of Ornithology”
Dr. Paul Gray, Audubon Florida
Tuesday, April 21—Annual Meeting “Spring Lake Storm Water Treatment and Eco Park”Joe DeCerbo, District Manager and Public Records Custodian
Saturday, May 16 “Program, time, and Location TBA”
Please join us for an event!
Highlands County Audubon meetings are held the Third Tuesday of the Month September through April except for December when a special holiday party is held plus a special get-together in May.