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Counting birds next weekend

Folks in Suffolk will have the opportunity to participate in a global scientific observation next week.

Suffolk Parks and Recreation is participating in the global Great Backyard Bird Count from 7 to 9 a.m. on Feb. 13, at the former site of the Driver Naval Radio Transmitting Facility, 3901 Sleepy Hole Road. This site is usually not open to the public, but will be for this event.

Participants will take part in a global effort to count different birds that are living in this area, including Canada geese, robins, crows and many others. Binoculars will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own, since there is a limited supply.

“We are going to go for a walk and see what we find,” said Nakiesha Bridgers, the outdoor recreation specialist at Suffolk Parks and Recreation. “All experience levels are welcome to come. We are going to talk about the birds that we see and bird calls.”

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a citizen science project started by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. Each year from Feb. 12 to 15, folks are encouraged to go outside for at least 15 minutes to count the birds they see and log it into Cornell Lab of Ornithology to help track migration patterns.

“After we count as many birds as we see for the two hours, we will upload all the data to birdcount.org,” said Bridges.

During the 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count, 268,674 people across the globe reported the birds they saw in their area.

This event is free for all ages, but the event is recommended for adults 18 years and older, and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Advanced registration is required. Register online at https://registerpkr.suffolk-va.net with registration code #241400-21, or in person at East Suffolk Recreation Center, 138 S. Sixth St., and Whaleyville Recreation Center, 132 Robertson St. Due to COVID-19, participant screening and social distancing procedures will be in place. Limited slots are available.