Pileated Woodpecker - Photo by Landon
Raul, Landon, Miquela, and Addie - Photo James Mueller
Raul, Landon, Miquela, and Addie – Photo James Mueller

On February 18, four members of the central Ohio chapter of Ohio Young Birders Club (OYBC) participated in a bird count: The Great Backyard Bird Count.  But they weren’t alone.  During four days in February, birders from around the world join in this count, and this year our Ohio young birders joined hands with them!

These birders — Raul, Landon, Miquela, and Addie — became part of a global community science effort hosted by a joint project among Cornell Laboratory, National Audubon, and Birds Canada. The Great Backyard Bird Count seeks to census bird populations around the world before spring migration, much like the Christmas Bird Count that Audubon sponsors in North America. The data is important for monitoring changes in bird populations, from Asia, Africa, and Europe, to Australia and the Americas.

Our birders and their advisors went to Highbanks Metro Park to face a cold 19 degree temperature on February 18. The feeders were busy around the nature center! They also worked the boardwalks between 8:30 and 10:30 am.

The birders counted 20 species—not bad for a cold February morning! They used eBird to communicate their results to Cornell.  Here is Landon’s eBird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S128816389

When asked what their favorite birds were, they replied, the Red-Breasted and Pileated Woodpeckers and the Red-breasted Nuthatch. Here are some of their photos (yes, they are photographers too!).

Red-bellied Woodpecker - Photo by Addie
Red-bellied Woodpecker – Photo by Addie
Pileated Woodpecker - Photo by Landon
Pileated Woodpecker – Photo by Landon
Downy Woodpecker and Red-breastd Nuthatch- Photo by Landon
Downy Woodpecker and Red-breasted Nuthatch – Photo by Landon

When asked why they wanted to come birding on a freezing morning in February, Landon said, “Because it’s fun.” Raul said, “Because it’s fun to get outside.” Miquela said, “Birds are really cool and interesting.” And Addie said, “I find it very interesting, even if there are no new birds.” Who among us can disagree?

The future of birding looks bright, and that is in part due to the great advisors of OYBC who help these birders sharpen their passion. We also had a meeting with snacks and planned for the next 3 months for the central OYBC. The co-advisors were all there, Warren Grody, James Mueller, Ann Petrushka, and me. James Mueller joined as an advisor in April 2020, and we are grateful for his contribution to the development and inspiration of these young birders.

James showing phone/optics - Photo Warren Grody
James showing phone/optics – Photo Warren Grody

All of us who advise these young people are truly privileged to know them. We all learn together! We all want to foster a passion for birds

Chukar - Photo James Mueller
Chukar – James Mueller

Oh! And speaking of passion for birds, Landon went to another site after our count, and he discovered a surprise: a Chukar!

Passion, eh?