Birds of a feather flock to the Great Backyard Bird Count

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Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, but DO count the birds in your yard before they fly away.

This Feb. 17-20 marks The National Audubon Society’s 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a fun and free event that invites bird watchers of all ages and expertise levels to help them track and record current bird populations. It’s as simple as standing in your backyard for 15 minutes with a notepad, or as detailed as you’re interested in getting.

All reports are logged online at birdcount.org where the researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society use them to track shifting populations, migration patterns and populations of birds around the world. In 2016, more than 160,000 people participated from backyards near and far, helping scientists gather invaluable information about nearly 6,000 different species of birds.

In Mansfield, naturalists at Elmer W. Oliver Nature Park are celebrating with a fun morning of family-friendly activities that are all free and open to all ages. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 with games, bird feeder crafts, nature walks and, of course, bird watching. All activities, led by the park’s trained naturalists and volunteers, are great for all skill levels and interests.

“Oliver Nature Park is a great place to spend your morning counting birds because there are many different species at the park that you might not find in your backyard,” said Nature Education Supervisor Tiffany Gorrell. “Children will even get to try out their skills at spotting birds through binoculars and watching from our bird blinds.”

For more information about Mansfield’s Great Backyard Bird Count event, visit Olivernaturepark.com.

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