Florissant Fossil Beds Goes to the Birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 12, 2016

The Great Backyard Bird Count is underway, and Saturday it's taking place at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. The bird count is a worldwide event to help take stock of birds in wildlife parks for fun and for science.

"Essentially it's a giant citizen-scientist project," says Jeff Wolin, with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. "Citizens are going out and collecting data on the birds that they're seeing in different areas of the county, all that data is getting pooled together, and can give scientists an idea about birds and their patterns and their populations."

Wolin says scientists use the results to determine whether birds are endangered, acting strangely, or if migratory birds are off course.

A black-capped chickadee counted in 2013 during the Great Backyard BirdcountCredit Carol Poulos (GBBC participant) / Great Backyard Bird Count
A black-capped chickadee counted in 2013 during the Great Backyard Birdcount

Friends of the Fossil Beds Boardwoman Sally McCracken says they aren't expecting any changes in the usual count, but adds it's hard to predict.

"We normally get the same birds at this time of year, but once in a while we'll get one," says McCracken. "Last year, we got a blue bird, and that's totally unheard of at that time of the year, but again, the weather is changing, climate is changing, and so we're going get those oddities in the count."

McCracken says they're expecting as many as 100 people to turn out for the count depending on the weather. In previous years, she says they've seen as many as 800 show up. Last year more than 100,000 people contributed worldwide.

The Great Backyard Bird Count at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument takes place from 9 AM to 3 PM on Saturday.