|Be a part of annual national bird count at free Great Backyard Bird Count event on Feb. 16 at Ernie Miller Nature Center|
Stop by for 15 minutes or stay all day at a free public birding event which will take place at the Ernie Miller Nature Center on Saturday, Feb. 16. This will be the first time the local nature center is participating in the nationwide birding event, which is now in its 11th year, and organizers anticipate it will become a annual observation.
The event is called the Great Backyard Bird Count 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. For more information, contact Park Naturalist Elaine Giessel at (913) 764-8580 ext. 27. Search for the keyword "birds" to find this program in the JCPRD's Activities Catalog and online listings.
EMNC Birding Volunteer and active Burroughs Audubon Society Member Lisa Weeks, said she is hopeful the first-ever event at the nature center will draw 100 participants throughout the day and 25 to 30 species can be identified.
"I hope to share the birding fever with some kids," Weeks said. "'Birding,' as bird-watching is called today, is a great hobby for all ages and learning levels. You can seek out rare species or watch the common birds that come to your yard. It is truly a pastime that everyone can enjoy, and it's catching."
The theme for this year's national event is "Count for Fun, Count for the Future." Count results will contribute information which is valuable for science and conservation and can spotlight changes in bird populations and distribution from year to year. In 2007, a record 80,000 bird checklists were submitted reporting 11 million birds and 613 species. More information on the national count can be found at www.birdcount.org.
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.