Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20

Quail search for seeds in the snow north of Genoa.

Quail search for seeds in the snow north of Genoa.

Every year since starting in 1998, the Great Backyard Bird Count invites people of all ages and experience levels to help create a snapshot of bird populations in real time. Over four days this month, anyone who appreciates watching birds can take part in this global citizen-science project.

The 2023 count takes place Feb. 17-20. Participants are asked to count all the birds they see or hear for at least 15 minutes (and up to as long as they like) throughout the duration of the event. And despite the event’s name, birdwatchers can record observations from any location they choose.

The GBBC website,, provides a helpful list of the best website and apps for sharing bird sightings on their “Participate” page. Those who prefer to manually record data before submitting to the count can download a checklist of birds from the “Participate” page.

During and after the count, real-time maps and charts that display what others around the world are reporting are posted on the website. Results from the 2022 count are available online at

Anyone interested in learning more about observing and counting birds can sign up for a free livestream webinar 10-11 a.m. Feb. 15. The webinar provides birdwatching tips that include identification, bird counts, and bird songs as well as a chance to “…practice counting birds no matter how large the flock or busy the feeder.” Visit the GBBC home page to register.

The Audubon Society website (, says that data collected during the count “…helps researchers…learn more about how birds are doing, and how to protect them and the environment we share.”

The GBBC is a wonderful opportunity to get outside and observe diverse populations of birds in the Carson Valley and beyond.

Food Closet seeking volunteers

Last week, I shared information about the Carson Valley Community Food Closet’s upcoming Open House on February 9 as well as their call for volunteers. CVCFC Director Sarah Sanchez said that right now, the food closet is looking for volunteers to help with home deliveries, mobile grocery distributions, and those who are interested in working directly with clients during the check-in process.

The next volunteer orientation takes place 10:30-11:30 a.m. Feb. 28, at 1251 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville. Learn more by calling 775-782-3711 or by visiting

Comet comes close, but no cigar

Can’t say I had any luck spotting Comet E3 ZTF in the sky last week, despite several attempts. I went out twice last Tuesday, but my arms shook so much from the cold that I couldn’t hold the binoculars steady enough to see much of anything at all. Wednesday’s clouds didn’t help matters, and the idea of seeing the comet in person slipped away.

I consoled myself by looking at images of E3 ZTF taken by local astrophotographer Dave Anderson, who uploaded several pictures to his Facebook group page, Contemplating the Universe ( 1133413893688154/). Give it a look; Anderson posts lots of other images there, including ones that highlight celestial events within our solar system and others that capture deep space phenomena, and he offers great explanations about his artistic process and what exactly is shown in each image.

If you like what you see, you can request to be added to the group and will receive updates as Anderson posts them to the page.

Amy Roby can be reached at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment