Wild Birds Unlimited Swoops In to Prepare Nature Enthusiasts for the Great Backyard Bird Count

National Backyard Bird Feeding Franchise Offers Simple Tips for Getting Involved and Identifying Bir

Online PR News – 01-February-2015 – CARMEL, Ind. – From February 13 through February 16, 2015, nature enthusiasts worldwide will be gathering outside as citizen scientists to participate in the 18th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Wild Birds Unlimited, the largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores, and a sponsor for the annual event, is encouraging participation with a few simple bird identification tips.

Bird watchers of all ages are welcomed to join the fun for the four day event that is a joint project between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society. Participants are encouraged to count birds at bird feeders and in backyards, local parks or other locations where birds can be spotted for as little as 15 minutes on one or more of the count days. They are to count the number of birds they see for each species they can identify.

Participants enter their tallies online through the BirdSource web site at www.birdcount.org. Scientists use that data to analyze bird populations, migration patterns, habitat needs and identify birds at risk of becoming endangered.

“It’s a fun chance for families to get outdoors and explore the birds most commonly found in their area,” said Jim Carpenter, CEO and Founder of Wild Birds Unlimited. “Parents can visit a local park and count the birds before heading out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. They can also be citizen scientists with their children by spending some time counting the birds.”Observers may notice lesser-known birds during the GBBC. To help identify tricky birds, Wild Birds Unlimited has created the following questions:

• Silhouette – Look at the bird’s overall size, shape and posture. Is it the size of something familiar like a sparrow, robin or crow? How does it sit, perch or fly?
• Head Markings – Does the bird have a colorful or striped cap, also known as a crown? Is there a stripe above or through the eye, or does it have an eye ring or “spectacles?” Look for cheek patches or a mustache. Is there a white throat patch?
• Body Markings – What are the overall back, breast and belly colors? What’s on the chest? A patch, spots, streaks or is it clear?
• Wing Markings – Are the wings a different color than the body? Are there wing bars or spots?
• Tail Shape and Markings – Is the tail long or short compared to the body? Are there certain colors or vertical or horizontal stripes?

The data for the count will be powered by “eBird,” an online checklist program, which participants can leverage to keep their own records, have their tallies recorded and use interactive maps to view what others see. In 2014, participants in 135 countries counted nearly 4,300 species of birds and 144,000 checklists were submitted.

For more information on the GBBC, call or visit a local Wild Birds Unlimited store. To find the nearest location, visit https://maps.wbu.com.

Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 280 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Wild Birds Unlimited recently ranked No. 9 overall and No. 1 in the Retail category on Franchise Business Review’s prestigious 2014 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards Top 200 Franchises list. Visit our website and shop online at www.wbu.com. To learn how you can open your own Wild Birds Unlimited, visit www.wbufranchise.com.