Get outdoors on Valentine’s Day by participating in Great Backyard Bird Count

 By David Figura | dfigura@syracuse.com

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“Last year’s bird count resulted in an unprecedented number of sightings of snowy owls throughout the northeast and Great Lakes region. This snowy was photographed on a farm in Morrisville.

“Celebrate this Valentine’s Day outdoors by joining the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which begins Friday and ends Monday.

“It’s simple. Identify and count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days during the count and enter your sightings online at birdcount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track changes in bird populations on a massive scale.

“Citizen science participation projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count are not only essential to helping us achieve conservation success across New York State, they also offer to opportunity to understand and appreciate nature on a much more personal level,” said Erin Crotty, executive director of Audubon New York, in a news release about the event.

“Last year’s count — a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada — showed unprecedented numbers of snowy owls reported across southeastern Canada, the Great Lakes states, the Northeast and down the Atlantic Coast.

“This year’s is expected to show “higher than usual numbers of both snowy owls, pine siskins and redpolls, although not to the extent of last year’s snowy owl eruption,” according to the Audubon news release.”

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