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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 separate, free birding programs in February. The programs are aimed at engaging visitors - including first time beginners - in observing and identifying winter birds at the park. Visitors can then apply their new skills as "citizen scientists" by helping to systematically count different kinds birds on park trails. Newly-trained citizen scientists are then invited to make their own checklists at home.
Saturday, February 11, 8:30 am to 11:30 am Birding Basics Workshop. This is an optional "training session" for anyone who would like some extra experience to get ready for the count. Group leaders will give a presentation on common winter birds found in Congaree National Park before heading out into the park to practice identification skills.
Saturday, February 18, 8:30 am to 11:30 am Great Backyard Bird Count Program. Group leaders will give 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.
The programs are part of the 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which is a larger effort to identify and count all types of birds across the continent from February 17-20. 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.
Beginners are welcome and encouraged. No prior experience is required to participate in these free programs, which are open to visitors ages 5 and up.Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult.Please register in advance by calling the Harry Hampton Visitor Center at 803.776.4396, ext. 0, or just stop by the front desk. Participants should plan to meet at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center fifteen minutes prior to the start of each program. Participants should wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. A water bottle and snack are also recommended.Visitors and volunteers are encouraged to bring binoculars. The park has a limited number of binoculars that will be available on a first-come, first-served basis during the program.
For information about the Great Backyard Bird Count visit http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/