Winter Birding: There’s Still Lots of Time

According to the latest statistics, an estimated 85 million of us enjoy observing, photographing and feeding wild birds throughout the year. But, with still a few weeks of winter left, you can up your bird citizenship by participating in the GREAT ANNUAL BACKYARD BIRD COUNT. This activity takes place this year from Feb 14-17.  All you need to do is visit  http://www.eBird.org   

This website of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has made field work so easy with its BirdsEye tracking app. People from all over the world can submit data on bird sightings and find out about migration patterns as well. The bird count project at Cornell runs from November 9 through April 4, so there is plenty of time to get involved.  Visit: http://www.cams.allaboutbirds.org

You can also share your photos or enter contests like the one at:  http://www.hbwcontest.com

Here is a photo of a downy woodpecker that often visits our oak tree.

woodpeckerFinally, do you know why flocks of birds arrange themselves into perfect V’s instead of S or M or O, or any other letter?   Just recently scientists have found that birds position themselves like this, and time their wing beats so precisely that, according to aerodynamic theory, they minimize energy use. Each bird can monitor subtle changes in its wing mates flight and adjust its own path and stroke accordingly.  So if you thought birds were “bird-brained” guess again!  They are reacting in very sophisticated ways to maintain V formation. Our feathered friends are pretty amazing!

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