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Out & About: Backyard birdwatching event an opportunity to ‘bird in place’

  • Bobolinks are found in grassland habitats and are quite common throughout the Upper Valley. (Charles Gangas photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/21/2020 9:40:11 PM
Modified: 5/21/2020 9:40:01 PM

NORWICH — This weekend is shaping up to be a fine one for birdwatching, and this Saturday you can birdwatch with a mission during the annual Backyard Bird Quest 2020.

“It’s a way to get people out in the field trying to identify as many species as birds as possible during a single day,” said Chris Rimmer, executive director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. “We always time it so it’s the height of spring bird migration.”

Participants are asked to record the birds they see using the Vermont eBird app.

The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Norwich-based nonprofit organization and people can either make a donation outright or pledge a specific amount based on the number of species counted.

In years past, a team from VCE would travel to different places such as Killington Peak for the count. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that isn’t a possibility this year.

“This year we realized we have to do it differently because we can’t all pile into a couple vehicles and go where we might go,” Rimmer said. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we kind of put out a call for everybody to bird in place?’ ”

People can participate all day, or for just a few hours. They can sit in their backyards or walk a path near their home. Rimmer himself plans on being out from dawn to dusk.

“I’m a passionate birdwatcher. It’s what I love to do and what I’m going to do,” he said. “We hope people will just really gain more familiarity with their own little piece of real estate, whatever that may be, that it’ll give them a sense of place.”

Editor’s note: For more information, visit https://vtecostudies.org/wildlife/wildlife-watching/birdathon.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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