February can be a tough month in Kentucky. We are smack dab in the middle of winter. The vibrant fall colors are a distant memory, and the soft hues of spring wildflowers are just out of reach. This is the time of year when cabin fever is real. However, this gray and brown time of year can be the best time for one engaging cure for the whole family – birding!
With trees bare of their leaves, birds can be more easily spotted and identified than during warmer times of the year. During the winter we also get a chance to really know our resident bird species that grace our backyards, feeders, and parks year-round. These birds provide the soundtrack to our winters in Kentucky – birds like the tufted titmouse and the Carolina wren; The pileated woodpecker and the red-shouldered hawk; The northern cardinal and the song sparrow. These birds are ever present in our day-to-day lives but many of us don’t slow down enough to really notice them.
So where do you start?
Enter The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the GBBC is a citizen-science project that collects data on wild birds and displays results in near real-time. Observations and data collected during the GBBC helps scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.
This year’s GBBC runs from February 16-19, 2024 and invites learners of all ages to begin or continue their journey into birding. The Parklands is getting in on the action by hosting bird walks all four days in conjunction with the Beckham Bird Club. On each walk, the hike leaders will keep track of the bird count that our participants spot with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird app. At the end of each day, we will tally up all our bird counts and add them to the global count.
To add the spice of competition and to make this global event more local, The Parklands has enlisted the help of the Louisville Nature Center and Creasy Mahan Nature Preserve. Over the course of the GBBC, The Parklands will compete to see which natural area can identify the most bird species. The winner will receive the coveted pair of golden binoculars!
So, if cabin fever has got you down, grab your binoculars and get to The Parklands for the Great Backyard Bird Count! For more information, bird walk dates, and times for the Great Backyard Bird Count, click here.