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Calling all birdwatchers: Great Backyard Bird Count set for February. (Southern Scrapbook).

In an effort to keep common birds common, the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have teamed up to host the sixth annual Great Backyard Bird Count February 14-17.

Audubon senior vice president of science Frank Gill called on both novices and experts around Mississippi to participate in this unique project. "We need every birder to join us," Gill said. "The Great Backyard Bird Count has become a vitally important means of gathering data to help birds, but it can't happen unless people take part."

Bird Count organizers ask families, schools, and community groups to count the number and types of birds that visit their feeders, local parks, schoolyards, and other areas during any or all of the four count days. Participants then enter their sightings at BirdSource, www.birdsource.org/gbbc.

Madge Lindsay, executive director of the Strawberry Plans Audubon Center in Holly Springs, said the Great Backyard Bird Count allows individuals to contribute to a better understanding of birds. "1 can't think of a more enjoyable--and more rewarding--way to spend a little time on a late winter day," she said.

With the information compiled during this event, the Audubon Society produces a WatchList, which accounts for species in decline or at conservation risk due to shrinking habitats and other threats such as introduced predators and diseases like West Nile Virus.

Begun in 1998, more than a quarter of a million Americans have engaged in this effort over the years.

Instructions for participating can be found at www.birdsource.org, or by calling the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at 800/843-2473.
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Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:265
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