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Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 803-647-3969
Contact: David Shelley, 803-647-3966
The Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center at Congaree National Park and the Friends of Congaree Swamp are partnering to host two, free birding programs in February.The programs are aimed at engaging visitors - including beginners - in observing and identifying winter birds at the park.Visitors can then apply their new skills as citizen scientists by helping to count a variety of birds on park trails.
Saturday, February 09, 8:30 am to 11:30 am: Birding Basics Workshop
This optional training session is for anyone who would like guidance to prepare for the Great Backyard Bird Count.Participants will meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center for a presentation on common winter birds found in Congaree National Park before heading out into the park to practice identification skills.
Saturday, February 16, 8:30 am to 11:30 am: Great Backyard Bird Count
Participants will meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center for a presentation on the common winter birds found in Congaree National Park before heading out into the park to identify and count birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Beginners, ages 5 and up, are welcome and encouraged. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.Register in advance by calling the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, 803 776-4396.For more information about the programs call Education Coordinator David Shelley, 803 647-3966.
Participants should meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center fifteen minutes prior to the start of each program.Wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.Water and snacks are also recommended.Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars.The park has a limited number of binoculars that will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The programs are part of the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc), which is a nationwide effort to identify and count birds across the continent from February 15-18. By collecting checklists from all over the country and comparing the results from previous years, scientists can try to answer questions about the influence of winter weather on bird populations, how the timing of birds' migrations compare with past years, and if there are any worrisome changes in bird populations that may require some conservation attention.