Tuesday, March 10, 2015

GBBC 2015 Overview - Excerpt from Cornell

GBBC 2015  Overview

You did it! Once again participants from around the world set new records for the number of species identified during the four days of the Great Backyard Bird Count and for the number of checklists submitted.
Total checklists: 147,265 (up 3,156)
Total species: 5,090 (up 794)
Estimated participants: 143,941 (up 1,890)

Bad weather really had an impact on participation in the heavily populated northeastern quadrant of the United States and across Canada. Bitter temperatures, snow, and high winds produced a noticeable drop in the number of checklists submitted from those regions. Kudos to those who braved the elements to count (humans) and be counted (the birds)! And congratulations to our outstanding performers across the globe. Below are the Top 10 countries ranked by number of checklists submitted:
Number of Species
Number of Checklists
United States
Costa Rica
New Zealand
Do some more exploring on your own. How many Snowy Owls were reported in your state or province? Did Pine Siskins show up in your county? How many species were identified in your country?

Use the "Explore a Region" tool to find out.

Still Have Checklists to Enter?

Although data entry has been closed on the GBBC website, you can still enter any lingering lists by going directly to the eBird online checklist program at www.eBird.org. You can use the same user name and password (which you have carefully saved for next year). Any observations entered in eBird for the GBBC dates, February 13-16, 2015, will be part of the count.

The Next GBBC is February 12-15, 2016

Keep Counting!

We hear the same lament every year: "I had some some really great birds just before (or after) the GBBC and I couldn't report them."

Yes, you can! Now that you've contributed to the Great Backyard Bird Count, you can report your birds anytime, anywhere by using eBird. Just use the same user name and password you set up for the GBBC and the data entry process is the same.

You'll be in good company. eBird collects millions of sightings each month from around the world. Those observations have been put to use in generating the State of the Birds reports for the U.S. Department of the Interior and for targeting specific species for conservation based on when and where they will be appearing during migration. Your birds matter!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Signs of Spring 2015

Spring is JUST Around the Corner!

  • Male turkey are starting to strut around hens. 
  • Great horned owls and bald eagles are sitting on nests incubating eggs, 
  • Common ravens are performing courtship flights,
  • Greater prairie chickens are dancing in central Wisconsin and 
  • Barred owls are performing duets statewide. 
  • The warm weather forecast should accelerate spring migration so be on the lookout for the return of Sandhill cranes and Red-winged blackbirds.
It's time to polish up the bird watching gear and ready it for the coming season.

To clean the body of a pair of binoculars…

Gently wipe off the barrels, focus wheels, eyepiece rims and other parts of the binoculars with a damp cloth, but avoid touching the lenses.

Use a can of compressed air to blow dust and debris from around the focus wheel and other crevices, but only use small puffs of air. A sustained blast can create moisture that will damage binoculars.

In general, the exterior of most binoculars requires very little care. Sturdy coatings, waterproofing and other manufacturing techniques help keep good quality optics protected and clean even with heavy birding use. The lenses of the optics, however, require much more attention to maximize binoculars' performance.

To clean binocular lenses…

Gently brush loose dust and dirt away from the lens with a special lens brush or a soft, clean paintbrush. It is helpful to hold the binoculars upside down when doing this so particles will fall away from the delicate surfaces. Alternatively, use small puffs from a can of air to blow off dust, but avoid breathing on binoculars – the moisture in your breath will add to the dirt on the lenses. If the binoculars are waterproof, the lenses can be held under a gentle stream of water to rinse dust away.

Use a wet cotton swab to gently soak up any remaining dust or visible particles, but take care not to press the swab into the glass or rub it across the surface. The swab should be wet with water or optics cleaning solution, not glass cleaner or formulas for eyeglasses. Using improper chemicals can degrade binocular lens coatings.

Use a lens cleaning pen or a lint-free cloth to gently wipe the lenses with a circular motion to remove smudges, fingerprints or stubborn dirt. Do not apply more force than necessary, and clean the entire lens. If the dirt persists, change direction and keep wiping gently until it disappears. Microfiber cloths or special lens cleaning cloths are best to avoid unintentional scratches.

Tips to Keep Your Binoculars Clean:

  1. To keep your binoculars clean as long as possible…
  2. Use lens and eyepiece caps to protect delicate surfaces when not in use.
  3. Store binoculars in a soft case and keep the case itself clean.
  4. Always use clean tools – a lens pen or polishing cloth – when cleaning binoculars.
  5. Do not apply sunscreen or insect spray near binoculars.
  6. Only clean your binoculars when the visual quality is impaired – less frequent cleaning means less risk of accidentally scratching the lenses.
  7. Proper bird identification often relies on having the best possible view of a bird to see tiny markings, subtle behaviors or unusual colors. Knowing how to clean binoculars properly can help birders ensure their equipment is always in the best possible shape so they never miss seeing a bird.
Source = ABOUT.COM -  Melissa Mayntz