OKC ZOO CELEBRATES YEAR OF THE BIRD WITH GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT
February 13, 2018
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is proud to host its first Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) events Saturday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a global citizen science project that invites people to count native birds and help create a real-time look at wild populations. Participation in this fun event is easy for families and individuals of all ages. OKC Zoo guests can assist with counting and identifying the native birds that make their home around the Zoo. Wildlife biologists from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, one of the Zoo’s partners in native species conservation, will assist with the event.
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to introduce Zoo guests and members of the community to the critical work done by citizen scientists," said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, OKC Zoo curator of conservation and science. "The information provided by the GBBC helps researchers better understand bird population changes, shifting migration patterns and what resulting steps need to be taken to protect declining bird populations."
Zoo guests can visit the information tent in the Global Plaza to learn more about each day’s activities including bird watching tours. Also in the Global Plaza, guests with an interest in photography can visit the Bedford Camera and Video area to borrow telephoto zoom lenses to better capture their bird sightings on camera. Binoculars are also available. Guests must provide a driver's license to borrow a lens/binoculars. Bird photographers can also enter images they capture during the event in the 2018 GBBC photo contest. Kids will enjoy an on-grounds bird scavenger safari, testing bird-spotting skills! After the educational scavenger hunt is complete, kids can show their completed card to Guest Services in the plaza and receive a prize. Zoo education team members will host an introduction to bird-spotting activity outside the Dan Moran Aviary. All activities are free with Zoo admission.
The 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place February 16 to 19—and not just in Zoos, but also in backyards, parks, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies and beaches. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers simply count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.
All Oklahoma’s talented students in K-12 are eligible to win wild prizes and the chance to have their original art designed on a Dr Pepper vending machine at the Zoo. Come on, get creative! Additional information about this year’s contest theme, Year of the Bird: Celebrate our World’s Winged Wonders, guidelines and entry forms will be available at okczoo.org. All submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2018. Participation is free.
To learn more about what scientists discovered over the past 21 years and how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited. The 2018 GBBC is notable because it is the February call-to-action for the Year of the Bird, a 12-month celebration of birds to raise awareness about how people can help birds by taking simple actions each month. The Year of the Bird is led by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and more than 100 participating organizations. Learn more about Year of the Bird at www.birdyourworld.org.
Flock to the Oklahoma City Zoo and learn to care for, connect with and conserve wildlife! Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at ZOOfriends.org or in-person at the Zoo! To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.