The Music of Nature

This past weekend, from February 17-20, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society sponsored the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Participants were asked to spend 15 minutes counting birds they spotted in their own backyards. That's it—count the birds and report them to the site bird The site will be taking information through March 1.

The purpose of the grass-roots count is to monitor birds and their shifting patterns and behavior. The more we know about them, the better able we are to protect the birds and the environment we share with them. We can also better understand how our changing climate affects them, and you can see for yourself using maps available on the website.

This February, spring has arrived early, with record temperatures that have called back some birds sooner than expected. Citizen-science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count are an easy way to get involved, and so far, more than 25 million birds and 5680 species have been reported.

What birds have you spotted so far, and which are your favorites? While you're counting and listening to the "music of nature," enjoy the song of the white-throated sparrow:

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