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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
February 6, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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February 6, 2019

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Page 2B February 6, 2019 iRgporter MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson so primarily from the comfort of their homes. Since most of us find ourselves with more things to do than time to do them in, we often observe birds for just a few minutes at a time before quicldy moving to TERRY W. our next task. Believe it or not, if you look at birds for as few as 15 min- utes in an entire day, you can join the tens of thousands of folks scattered across the globe that will soon be par- ticipating in the 22nd Annual ] GreatBackyard Bird Count (GBBC). The 2019 GBBC will be held during a four-day period extending from Feb. 16-19. The count JOHNSON is sponsored by the Comell Laboratory of Ornitholog) National Audubon SocieW, and Bird Studies Canada. The count is designed to help biologists monitor both the winter distribution and movements of as many species as possible. These data are proving invaluable in assessing the impacts of such factors as weather and habitat change on the of bird migrations, as well as the birds' selection ofplaces to spend the winter. For ex- ample, the data collected this winter will hopefully help ex- plain why we are not seeing as many purple finches, dark- eyed juncos, pine siskins, and white-throated sparrows and ducks as in years past. The scope of this survey has changed since it was hunched in 1998. What was initially a survey conducted in solely the United States has now become a global endeavor, past year 214,018 partidpants submit- ted sightings made in more than 100 countries. As you might expect, in 2018 the vast majority of the checklists (108,921) were submitted from the United States. How- ever, checklists also poured in from countries such as Canada, India, Australia, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, United Kingdom, and Columbia, to name but a few. All told, this army of volunteers reported 6.310 species of birds. This number represents approximately half of the worl& known species of birds. Back in the United States, 209 species were recorded on 8,530 checklists submitted from Georgifi- The most reported bird seen last year was the snow goose (4,957,118). Round- mg out the top ten were the Canada goose (1,626,585); common murre (1,365,548), red-winged blackbird (778.311), ring-billed gull (743,932), mallard (742,408), European Starling (701.381), Ameri- can coot (461,082), common grackle (382268), and her- ring gull (333,047). In sharp contrast, only the European starling made the lists for both the 10 most numerous spedes seen and 10 most frequently reported species (a tally ofthe number of checklists reporting each spe- des). Here is the list of the 10 most frequent- ly reported species: northern cardinal (48,956), dark, eyed junco (43,742), mourning dove (43,412), Ameri- can crow (40,959), blue jay (37,549), downywoodpecker (36,495), house finch (34,766), black- capped chickadee (31,942), house spar- row (31,884), and European starling (28,683). It is interesting to note all of these species are found in the United States. More than likely, thisis a reflection of high numbers of Americans that took part in the surve3. In addition, I should mention all ofthese birds, with the ex- ception of the black-capped chickadee, are regularly seen at feeders throughout Mon- roe County. Ifyou would like to take part in the 2019 GBBC, the first thing you need to do is go to the Great Backyard Bird Count website (birdcount. org) and sign in. Next select an area where you would like to conduct your count. It is totally up to you as to where and how large an area you wish to survey. Many simply The Northern Cardinal was the bird species most frequently reported on the 2018 checklists of the 2018 Great Baclyard Bird Count. (Photo/ Terry Johnson) count the birds seen in their badwards. Others count birds across an entire county. Since the count period nms for four days, ffyou prefer, you can count the same areas each day of the count. You are at liberty to con- duct an individual survey as long as you like provided you survey an area for a minimum of 15 minutes. As such, this gives you plenty of time to count birds at a num- ber oflocations each day of the count. Some volunteers conduct surveys in dozens of sites each year. Once you complete a survey; you simply go online ( and submit your data. Once the data is submitted, you can pull up a map that displays in real-time all the locations throughout the state where surveys are beingrun. Trds is a super conservation project for folks of all ages and skill levels since you only report those species you can identify. - With that in mind, I hope you will find at least 15 minutes during the four-day count period to serve as a citizen scientist and help conserve the birds that are such an important part of our lives. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column "Monroe Outdoors'for the Reporter for many years. Email him at ~woodduck@ 4 Shanaya Brezial, No. 10, was escorted by her parents Wilbert Brezial and Clairesse Quadir. Brezial has lettered in basketball for two years. She plans to join the U.S. Air Force Reserves and attend college. Anna I'lr~ghtower, No. 12, was escorted by her parents David Ja'Dasha Owens, No. 33, was escorted by her parents and Amanda Hightow~ Hightower has lettered in basketball Ja'Mitchell Owens and Jessica Chambliss. Owens has for four years. She plans to attend the University of Georgia and lettered in basketball for three years. She plans to attend major in journalism with an emphasis in sports broadcasting. Georgia Southern University. Dre Zellner, No. 1, was escorted by his parents Andre Desmond Williams, No. 4, was escorted by his mother Kendrell Watts, No. 5, was escorted by his parents Zellner and Alveta Walker. Zellner has lettered in basket- Contrerie Taylor and his sister Keambria Williams. Williams Demedrick Mays and Tamekia Watts. Watts has lettered in ball for one year. He plans to attend Central Georgia Tech has lettered in basketball for three years. He plans to at- basketball for two years. He plans to attend college and where he will study welding, tend college, play football. Uar Brandon Hogan, No. 10, was escorted by his parents J.T. Hartage, No. 12, was escorted by his parents Henry Leslie and Madlenyne Hogan. Hogan has lettered in bas- and Tawania Hartage. Hartage has lettered in basketball ketball for two years. He plans to attend college, for one year. He plans to attend college and play football. There's no mamasktchn kitchen