Maps from the count also have recorded the dramatic range expansion of Eurasian collared-doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the 1980, the collared-doves were reported in just eight states during the 1999 GBBC. By last year, collared-doves had colonized the Pacific Northwest, though they remain curiously absent from New England.
Last year, New York ranked first (6,614) in the number of checklists submitted, followed by California (5,619), Pennsylvania (5,420), North Carolina (5,116) and Texas (4,577). States reporting the most species were California (333), Texas (327), Florida (280), Arizona (239) and Oregon (205).
Anyone, from novice bird watchers to experts, can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. There's even a GBBC for kids. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online. It's easy, free, and fun.
Results are updated hourly on animated maps and colorful graphs for all to view. This near-instant feedback allows participants to see almost immediately how their observations fit into the global perspective. Results from previous GBBCs also are available online.
The lab also receives thousands of digital photos each year from all over the country. To see some of the best recent photos and the winners of GBBC photo contests, visit www.birdsource.org/gbbc/gallery.
In addition to results, the GBBC website includes a variety of other useful birding information, such as vocabulary, photos, birdwatching and bird feeding tips and vocalizations. It's a valuable resource for all birders, especially students.
The GBBC is a terrific way to contribute to a better understanding of birds. For information about the GBBC or the Lab of Ornithology, contact the lab at 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, www.birdcount.org, or call 800-843-2473.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 or email sshala...@aol.com.