Be a part of annual national bird count at Free Great Backyard Bird Count event on Feb. 16 at Ernie Miller Nature Center

Love to watch birds? Stop by for 15 minutes or sit a spell during a free public birding event which will take place at the Ernie Miller Nature Center on Saturday, Feb. 16. This will be the sixth time the local nature center is participating in the nationwide birding event, which is now in its 16th year.

The event is called the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and will take place from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. in the comfort of the Wildlife Viewing Room at the nature center located at 909 N. Kansas 7 Highway, Olathe. Participants can learn about birds which spend their winters in northeast Kansas from experienced birders with the Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City. Likely candidates for viewing include northern cardinals, black-capped chickadees, American goldfinches, red-tailed hawks, and more. No reservations or registration is required for this event.

The GBBC helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada learn more about how the birds are doing, and how to protect them. Last year, participants turned in more than 104,000 checklists online, creating the continent’s largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations. Altogether, bird watchers identified 623 species with 17.4 million bird observations.

More information on the national count can be found at www.birdcount.org. For more information on the local event contact the nature center at (913) 764-7759. To find this program in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under Fun For All and then under special events. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keyword “birds.”

The nature center also continues to seek donations of supplies for both the animals kept at the center and the wild animals which come to the feeders. Among the items being sought are: black oil sunflower seed, white millet, thistle, or safflower seed (no seed mixes, please), raw unsalted peanuts shelled or unshelled, suet cakes, and dried seed corn on the cob.

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