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Lab of O's Great Backyard Bird Count slated for Feb. 15-18

Bird-watchers across North America are poised to take a real-time snapshot of where the birds are during the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 15-18. The count is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, with sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.

Anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter their tallies online. The reports contribute valuable scientific information for conservation, spotlighting changes in bird population and distribution from year to year. Participation is free, and no registration is required.

Last year, birders submitted a record-breaking 80,000 checklists -- reporting 11 million birds and 613 species. Count results over the years show how such species as the Eurasian-collared dove and red-bellied woodpecker are spreading into new areas while such species as the American crow and northern pintails are declining in number.

Participants watch birds for as little as 15 minutes on one or more days of the event, counting in their yards, city parks or wherever they like. Participants enter the highest number of each species seen at one time on the GBBC Web site.

They also can explore maps and charts to see what others are reporting across the continent, view the 2007 winning photos, enter the 2008 photo contest or upload videos of birds and bird-watchers to YouTube and tag them "Great Backyard Bird Count." Some of the best clips will be posted on the GBBC Web site.

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