Sunday, February 15, 2015

Arctic cold not putting chill on Great Backyard Bird Count

Half-way through the annual Great Backyard Bird Count and event participants are demonstrating their stubborn streak in defying the cold.

Nationally and to date, 42,862 Americans have chalked up seeing 620 bird species.

And having gone international a few years ago the project (a joint venture of the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory and the National Audubon Society) electronically recorded tallies are now coming in from 116 countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, India and even Serbia.

So far the GBBC has recorded nearly 74,00 checklists, observed almost 3,900 bird species and checked off an astonishing nearly nine million individual birds.

A growing interest in the program has led to the establishment of various categories that – alas – are more complex in deciphering and ferreting out the details than in the past.

That said, the to-date tally for Ohio features 1,912 checklists with 120 bird species being listed.

In the lead is California with 3,835 checklists and 346 bird species. Other southern migration states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Florida also understandably are faring well in the bird species seen and the number of birding participants.

For Ohio the (so far, anyway) top five counties for bird species counted are Hamilton (80), Franklin (68), Delaware 965), Butler (60), and Montgomery (59).

Closer to home here in Northeast Ohio, Geauga County’s to-date roster feature 44 species tallied by 55 participants, Lake County to-date score card includes 45 species and seen by 69 participants, Cuyahoga County’s current up-to-date data is built on 50 species as seen by a mind-warping 230 participants, Ashtabula County’s figures are a more modest 31 species an just 17 participants.

Ohio also has – thus far, anyway – eight counties with neither any recorded bird species sightings or counters. Among them are Adams, Meigs, Noble and Van Wert.

As for species being featured thus far for Ohio Canada geese easily stand on the upper rung with 3,000 individuals counted thus far, common grackle and ring-billed gulls, each with 1,000 individuals counted, and American crows with 538 individuals thus far counted.

Among the species on the not-so-many-counted side of the ledger are the northern bobwhite quail (two), American woodcock (one), killdeer (one), and American bald eagle (seven).

The strictly volunteer-based Great Backyard Bird Count continues through Monday, February 16 though participants can continue to update or add their lists for a while longer, though the official web site doesn’t make finding this piece of vital information all that easy to locate. (Like I said at the top, the GBBC has gotten pretty complex over the years).

Anyway, for further information and to register to participate, visting the program’s web site at

And good luck at finding what you need. In spite of its electronic complexity the count really is a good and fun birding project.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


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