Naturalists want you to do more than just look at those birds visiting your yard this weekend.
You’re asked to count them.
This is the weekend of the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, a national event that helps scientists track bird populations and migration habits across the United States.
Charlotte-area residents are among the most active participants in the count, and a pair of weekend events -- one in Charlotte, the other in Concord -- are scheduled for people who want to learn more about birds and the counting event.
The bird counts are compiled by scientists at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Last year, according to the school, scientists received 471 bird checklists from the Charlotte area -- second-most in the country, behind only Bay Shore, N.Y. Charlotte has been among the national leaders for more than a decade in the bird count.
To participate, you’re asked to watch your yard for 15 minutes -- anytime from Friday through Monday -- and count the number and type of birds that visit. Then you can submit your checklist online to Cornell University.
The Charlotte Nature Museum’s event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The museum will feature its avian residents, and there will be bird experts from the Charlotte Audubon Society on hand to answer questions and provide information.
Meanwhile, the Cabarrus Soil and Water Conservation District invites bird-watchers to visit the Clarke Creek Heron Natural Heritage Area, off Cox Mill Road in the western part of the county. The natural heritage area covers 35 acres and is part of a 200-acre wetland complex that is host to a wide variety of birds, including herons, ducks, woodpeckers, hawks and owls.
Public access to the area is behind Cox Mill Elementary School, 1450 Cox Mill Road.
For information on the Great Backyard Bird Count and how to submit your data, check http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/howto.html.
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