- ABOUT US
By Megan Rossman
February 16, 2012
It’s no secret that at Oklahoma Today, we love birds. If there’s an opportunity to cram one in somewhere in an issue, we’ll do it. When no opportunity exists, we’ll create one (see: the upcoming March/April Marketplace). Our affinity for these little creatures reaches beyond the pages of the magazine; in the OKT offices, bird decor is a frequent gift. I have given as many bird figurines as I’ve received.
I couldn’t tell you why exactly birds inspire so many poems and decorative pillows, act in an official capacity as state emblems, or periodically plummet to their deaths en masse. My love of birds is simple and unsophisticated; I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing it.
Although most of my bird watching occurs unexpectedly in parking lots or from various windows, I always get excited when I receive a yearly press release for the Great Backyard Bird Count, an event led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. I know as soon as I get this email that I will probably not participate, but in the first moments I am reminded of this occasion, I picture myself armed with binoculars and an identification guide, sipping a fine bourbon, and gathering important scientific data from the comfort of a leather armchair. Of course, that never happens. Fortunately, though, many people are not as forgetful and lazy as me.
In 2011, birds watchers submitted 92,218 checklists online, counting more than 594 species among the 11,471,949 birds they saw. Birds most frequently spotted included northern cardinals, crows, finches, and—my personal favorite—the black-capped chickadee. In Oklahoma, northern cardinals and American robins topped the list.
This year, the bird count is February 17 to 20. Participating is simple. You can count birds for the entire 96-hour duration or as little as fifteen minutes one day. The event’s official website, birdsource.org, includes instructions and checklists in its “How To Participate” section. Once you’ve tallied all the birds you care to, just submit your observations online before Tuesday (and if you’re handy with a camera, enter the photo contest).
Well, now that I’ve just written a whole blog entry related to the Great Backyard Bird Count, I think this just might be the motivation I need to actually participate. I suggest you do the same.