SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Visitors to West Virginia’s state parks will join bird watchers across the U.S. and Canada to tally millions of birds Feb. 17 - 20 in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.
“The warmer-than-usual temperatures this winter and the recent cold spell will certainly make bird watching this weekend interesting,” said Jim Phillips, naturalist at Pipestem Resort State Park, one of three state parks hosting activities this weekend. The others are Blackwater Falls and Twin Falls.
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is fun because anyone can take part at any time and anywhere during the nationwide event,“ according to Paulita Cousin, naturalist at Blackwater Falls.”
Cousin, Phillips and other naturalists have bird watching activities schedules at their respective parks this weekend and invite anyone who wants to learn more about birds to join them. The naturalists will help participants identify birds by sight and sound and will record findings on the nationwide survey posting at www.birdcount.org
GBBC Birding at Pipestem Resort State Park Feb. 17 - 19
Friday Feb. 17, meet at Pipestem Park Headquarters at 9 a.m. to record birds in the recreation area. This meeting will last about one hour. At 10:30 a.m., park visitors, bird watchers or anyone who want to join in should meet at the Nature Center parking lot for a car caravan to Bluestone State Park to look for eagles and waterfowl. This activity will be at least two hours. At 2 p.m., the Bolar Lookout Tower will be the perch to count birds until 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 18 starts with a 9 a.m. walk from McKeever Lodge to a scenic overlook with view of the Bluestone Gorge. Another count will take place at 10:30 a.m. for a Lake Walk to Long Branch Lake and last approximately one and a half hours. Birders will meet at McKeever Lodge.
Sunday, Feb. 19, the Pipestem Nature Center is the observation point and the watch begins at 9:30 a.m. Visit www.pipestemresort.com or call 304-466-1800 for directions or information.
Blackwater Falls State Park Bird Watching Feb. 17 – 19
“Bird Basics,” an introduction to bird identification, is offered at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17. Meet at the Blackwater Sled Run for the 45 minute activity. “It isn’t mandatory to attend this session, but when you look and listen for birds, it is helpful whenever you are bird watching” said naturalist Paulita Cousin.
Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m., another bird basics program with hot chocolate is scheduled at the Sled Run. Noon begins bird watching in the Blackwater Lodge area. “We’ll see red crossbills, along with chickadees, cardinal, pine siskin, juncos and others,” said Cousin. At 1:30 p.m., meet at the nature center for more birding and counting. This activity will focus on the Pendleton Lake area and last about one and a half hours.
Sunday, Feb. 19 at 10:30 a.m., the Cranberry Woods Bird Walk is scheduled starting at the Gentle Trail. Participants are reminded to wear appropriate clothing and footwear. For activity and event information, call 304-259-5216 or visit online www.blackwaterfalls.com.
Twin Falls Resort State Park Counts on Feb. 18
From 10 a.m. until noon, naturalist Bryan Danford will be stationed at the tennis court parking at Twin Falls Resort. “We’ll watch and listen for two hours,” said Danford. Attendees at the Twin Falls survey may stay for the entire activity or as time allows. For information, call 304-294-4000 or email email@example.com.
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Participants count birds for at least 15 minutes or more on one or more days of the count and then enter the tallies at www.birdcount.org. Anyone can participate in the free event and no registration is required. From the back or front porch of a home, in the parking lot at a shopping mall, or attending a scheduled bird walk, the GBBC is an anyone, anywhere activity.
"This is a very detailed snapshot of continental bird distribution," said John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Imagine scientists 250 years from now being able to compare these data with their own. Already, with more than a decade of data in hand, the GBBC has documented changes in late-winter bird distributions."
To learn more about how to join the count, get bird ID tips, downloadable instructions, a how-to video, past results, and more, visit www.birdcount.org
. The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter at least one bird checklist online.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director
News Release: February 15, 2012
Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer 304-957-9365 firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Sissie Summers, Parks and Recreation Section