Are you looking to do something free, fun, educational and nature-related this weekend? Well, you're in luck!
The Great Backyard Bird Count got underway Friday and continues through Monday. It's a wonderful excuse to get outside with your kids and a simple way to help scientists around the world.
All you need to do is count birds for at least 15 minutes from one spot anytime through Monday. You can count just one day or multiple days. There are materials at the official site that provide clear directions and some info especially aimed at kids. There's also a regional bird list that will help you prepare for the types of feathered friends you might spot.
When you're finished, you submit your results online before the March 5 deadline. You can even download a cute certificate to give to your children, recognizing their work helping with the count.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is now in its 15th year, and is led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. Organizers stress that beginning bird watchers are welcome. Scientists use the counts to provide a picture of winter birds.
"Make sure the birds from your community are well represented in the count. It doesn't matter whether you report the five species coming to your backyard feeder or the 75 species you see during a day's outing to a wildlife refuge," the website says.
But if your family feels like it needs some expert help, members of the Kane County Audubon will be on hand at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center on Sunday afternoon from noon to 4 p.m. to help you learn to identify winter birds.
Editor's Note: Thanks to my friend Maegen Blue at Sounds Fun Mom for alerting me to this event. If you know any young families in the greater Seattle area, please make sure they know about Sounds Fun Mom, a wonderful resource in the South Sound.