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Great Backyard Bird Count

Lis a Lacivitia Bowman Reference Assistant

Lisa LaCivita

Bowman Reference Assistant

Every year since 1998, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society have sponsored the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). About the GBBC (taken from their website): “The GBBC was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.”

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Last year, members of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society (NSVA) surveyed the Bowman Library property in conjunction with the GBBC. They counted 150 birds representing 38 different species! This year’s GBBC runs over 4 days; February 14 – 17, 2020. The NSVA has generously agreed to count birds on the library’s property again this year. Information on protocols and entering your data can be found on the Great Backyard Bird Count website. Anyone with 15 minutes can participate. You don’t even have to go outside - you can count the birds you see on your feeder while looking out the window! Winter is a good time to get to know your local resident birds year-round. The library is well stocked with books to help you identify which birds you are seeing. We also have books about different species of birds including: hummingbirds, bluebirds, ravens, waterfowl, penguins, shore birds and raptors.

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Our collection includes books on bird feeders and building birdhouses. Perhaps a good winter project would be to construct a birdhouse. While you're thinking of spring and future gardens, take a look at the books on planting for native wildlife, attracting birds and pollinators to your property.

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My favorite category of bird books are the bird stories. Books about bird intelligence such as The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman, migration stories such as Living on The Wind: Across The Hemisphere With Migratory Birds by Scott Weidensaul and human interactions with birds two examples are The Feather Thief by Kirk Johnson and Flights of Fancy: Birds in Myth, Legend and Superstition by Peter Tate. There are many other books related to birds: Birds in flight : The Art and Science of How Birds Fly by Carrol Henderson and The Ravenmaster and The Secret Life of Owls to name just a few. If you want to go back to a primary source the Writings and Drawings of John James Audubon are also in our collection. Most of our non-fiction bird books will be found in the stacks beginning with the Dewey Decimal number 598. Bonus! We have many fascinating documentaries featuring birds! The documentary films related to birds are also shelved by the Dewey Decimal System beginning with number 598.

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