Miami-Dade County

Annual backyard bird count kicks off Valentine’s Day

Two roseate spoonbills fight over their spot in the shallows of Florida Bay’s Snake Bight in Everglades National Park in 2007.
Two roseate spoonbills fight over their spot in the shallows of Florida Bay’s Snake Bight in Everglades National Park in 2007. Miami Herald Staff

Bird alert: Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count kicks off Valentine’s Day and runs through the weekend.

The annual event, organized by the century-old organization, enlists pros and amateurs to spend as little as 15 minutes counting birds over four days. Tallies are then sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where researchers use the information to track the rise and fall of bird populations, a helpful look at the environment in general.

Last year, counters submitted over 144,000 online reports, “creating the world's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded,” Audubon reported.

South Florida’s count, organized by the South Florida Water Management District and Hendry-Glades Audubon Society, led the nation in 2014 with birders cataloging over 14,300 birds and 105 different species at one of the district’s stormwater treatment areas.

Counters can work in their own backyards or “anywhere in the world.” The water management district is also arranging trips. To find out more, visit www.sfwmd.gov/recreation or The Great Backyard Bird Count.

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