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The backyard bird count is on

Will Kurtz.jpg
The Piedmont Virginia Bird Club's Will Kurtz takes part in a count of the world's birds.

The calendar says winter, but Will Kurtz knows better. He speaks for the Piedmont Virginia Bird Club, and he’s listening to the sounds of spring.

“There’s a tufted titmouse that’s calling from over here, and there were Northern Cardinals singing just a moment ago, which means they are already staking out their territories. when you hear that liquid laser pew-pew-pew-pew that means they’re starting to think about their next news,” he says.

This weekend, he and other bird lovers invite the public to join in a citizen science project called the Global Backyard Bird Count.

“All you’ve got to do is watch birds for 15 minutes and then go on a website and report what you see,” Kurtz explains.

Last year, nearly 400,000 people from 192 countries took part, confirming the world’s birds are losing population.

“A few years ago, we discovered bird species of North America had declined by almost 30% since the 1970’s," Kurtz recalls. "With human development not only do they lose places where they live, but tall buildings are dangerous for birds that are migrating. Wind turbines can be dangerous for birds if they’re put in the wrong place. Outdoor pets, especially cats, are dangerous for birds and native mammals.”

Knowing more about which birds live where and how many there might be will help scientists and governments to make better use of scarce conservation dollars to protect feathered friends and their habitat.

You can learn more here.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief