Saturday, February 13 from 8:30 to 12:00
Come be part of the effort! The Friends of Congaree Swamp, Congaree National Park, and the NPS Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center are partnering to host a free Great Backyard Bird Count program on Saturday, February 13 from 8:30 to 12:00. This program is aimed at engaging visitors—including first time beginners—in observing and identifying winter birds at the park. Visitors can learn with advanced birders 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.
This program is part of the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (http://gbbc.birdcount.org), which is a larger effort to identify and count all types of birds across the continent from February 12-15. 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 climate change on winter bird populations and if there are any changes in bird populations that may invite additional scientific research. The 2015 count involved 147,265 checklists from citizen scientists all over the world; these included over 18 million birds of over 5,000 species.
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 14 should be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is requested. 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 around 8:15 am. Participants may return to the visitor center early if needed, but once the groups leave the visitor center it may not be possible for late-comers to join. Participants should wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes, wear weather-appropriate clothing, and be prepared for front-country hiking on the boardwalk, park roads, and established trails. 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 Congaree National Park visit www.nps.gov/cong.