Ornithology 01-24-14

Backyard bird count

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, bird watchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 14–17. Anyone anywhere in the world can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible. More info: http://birdsource.org/gbbc/.

Spring field ornithology

The annual Spring Field Ornithology course, taught by Stephen Kress, vice president for bird conservation for the National Audubon Society, and offered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, will be held March 26-May 18. The course is designed for bird watchers of all skill levels.

Wednesday evening lectures cover bird song, nesting, courtship, migration, and habitat and include two trips to the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates and an evening owl-watch. Saturday or Sunday field trips visit regional birding hotspots, such as Braddock Bay, Derby Hill, Dryden Lake, Arnot Forest and Myers Point.

Participants may sign up for lectures only, just the field trips, or both. There are also two optional overnight trips – one to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and the other to Magee Marsh, Ohio, to experience peak spring migration. 

The cost of the course is $170 for lectures, $200 for the weekend field trips, or $345 for both sections. Overnight trips to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and Magee Marsh, Ohio, are offered for an additional fee. Discounts for Lab of Ornithology members.

To register or for more information, see www.birds.cornell.edu/sfo. You may also call (607) 254-2453 to sign up (outside Ithaca, call 800-843-2473 toll-free).