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Whether you are an experienced birder or you just like to look at them, the Great Backyard Bird Count is an event for everyone. It is also a chance to visit areas of the monument that are usually closed to vehicles.
Scotts Bluff National Monument will be participating in the Nationwide Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) February 12-14, 2016. This event is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. It is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation.
Friday and Saturday, February 12 &13, at 8:00 a.m. the public is invited to join Ranger Lesley Gaunt to count birds within the monument's boundaries. If conditions allow, a different location will be visited each day.Participants will meet at the Visitor Center and join in a caravan to the sites. The ranger may have room for two or three people in the park vehicle. Counts will be done on short hikes or from the vehicles depending upon the weather. Park entrance fees will be waived for those participating in the bird count. Remember to bring your binoculars, a camera, and dress appropriately. Participants may report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org individually or the ranger can do it for the group.
Invaluable information is gained from these yearly counts and is added to the national database. Last year 5,090 species were observed, almost half the possible species in the world. Scientists have found the count shows an amazing amount of migratory, range and population information. The data from the citizen scientists helps researchers understand bird population trends, information that is critical for effective conservation. Their efforts enable everyone to see what would otherwise be impossible: a comprehensive picture of where birds are in late winter and how their numbers and distribution compare with previous years.
Each year, in addition to entering their tallies, participants submit thousands of digital images for the GBBC photo contest. Many are featured in the popular online gallery. Participants in the 2016 count are invited to submit their images to www.birdcount.org.
The Oregon Trail Museum Association offers birding and other nature guides for sale within the bookstore at the Scotts Bluff National Monument visitor center.All books and other sales materials will be discounted 15% both days of the bird count, February 12 and 13.
The Scotts Bluff National Monument visitor center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The summit road remains open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.Please inquire about the Scotts Bluff National Monument Annual Pass valid for one year from the purchase date. Additional information about Scotts Bluff National Monument programs and schedules can be obtained at the visitor center, by calling 308-436-9700 or by visiting our website at https://www.nps.gov/scbl/index.htm or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scottsbluffnps.
- NPS -