Maine residents are invited to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count

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STATEWIDE — People across Maine along with the rest of the world are asked to take a break this winter and look out their windows during the Great Backyard Bird Count, taking place Feb. 14-17.

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count is the perfect opportunity for participants to relax and enjoy nature wherever they are while being part of a very important study that helps better define bird ranges, populations, migration pathways and habitat needs. The count provides a simultaneous snapshot of the whereabouts of all bird species across the globe.

“The Count is to study larger population trends,” said Laura Turner, one of the GBBC ambassadors and owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in South Portland. “And of course, the more checklists submitted, the more accurate a picture we get.”

Although it’s called the Great “Backyard” Bird Count, the count extends well beyond backyards. Many participants choose to head for national parks, nature centers, urban parks, nature trails, even ski resorts.

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Anyone can participate in this free event and signing up is very easy. The best place to begin is at gbbc.birdcount.org/get-started, where you can learn more about the event, register and view prior years statistics.

Two species that Turner is looking forward to seeing results for are the Eastern Bluebird and Snowy Owl. “Eastern Bluebird sightings in yards seem to have increased this winter, and of course the Snowy Owl irruption to our area is impressive. I can’t wait to see what towns they are reported in.”

Participants are also welcome to pick up bird count worksheets, ask questions and submit their checklists to Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, 771-2473.

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