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Briefs

 
 

We’re Counting on You to Count the Birds

2010 Photo Contest Winner/Nick Saunders/GBBC

Put a sticky-note on the fridge: the 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is coming up February 18–21. Last year bird watchers submitted a record-breaking 97,300 checklists during the four-day count weekend. This year we’re hoping to break 100,000—a massive amount of information that we can use to compare how bird populations may be changing from year to year. The GBBC is hosted by the Cornell Lab and Audubon with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada. The event is fun, free, and requires no registration. Details at birdcount.org.

Taking on Texas

After 26 years of competition in New Jersey at the World Series of Birding, the Cornell Lab’s Team Sapsucker is taking on a new challenge for 2011: making a bid for the national Big Day record. Their record last year in New Jersey was 224 species, but they’ll be striving to top 261 species (the current record), and heading to Texas to do it. The six-person team will hit the road in late April to scout their route and will choose a day when weather and migrants are at their peak. “We can’t wait to try something new and showcase this fantastic birding state,” says Team Sapsucker captain Chris Wood. The Cornell Lab’s student team, The Redheads, will return to New Jersey on May 14 for the regular World Series. Both teams will be raising money for bird conservation programs at the Cornell Lab. Learn more at birds.cornell.edu/bigday.

From ’Sleuthers to Authors

Included with the BirdScope Winter 2011 mailing is the 2010 edition of Classroom BirdScope, from the scientist-educators in our BirdSleuth program. Each year, teachers and homeschoolers throughout the country use BirdSleuth materials, challenging their students to design and conduct their own bird studies. The kids become student scientists and can even submit their study reports to their own journal, just as professional scientists do. Classroom BirdScope is that journal. We hope you will be intrigued and inspired by the work students performed in 2010, and share your copy with educators and nature centers near you. We’ve included a donation envelope for those who want to help this unique educational program thrive and grow.

Barn Swallow Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Melissa Sherwood of Gig Harbor, Washington. She’s one of 28 people who gave the correct answer (13) to our Barn Swallow challenge. She wins the Bird Watching Answer Book, by Laura Erickson. We’re sorry that, owing to a holdup at the post office, some people did not receive their BirdScope until after the contest deadline. We extended the contest until Dec. 15 to ensure no one was excluded unfairly.

This time, you’ve got until March 15 to email birdscope@cornell.edu with a brief statement about what you like best in BirdScope or what you’d most like to see changed. From all entries we’ll draw one winner to receive the 2011 Songbirds Weekly Planner, a datebook that includes bird facts, range maps, tips, songs, and more.