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Q&A with Stephen Kress, author of Backyard Birdwatch

bookHow and when did you become interested in birding?

I became interested in birding in 4th grade when my teacher, Mrs. Reed, asked the class if anyone could identify the “brown bird pecking on the ground.” I determined the bird was a Flicker and eating ants, using my Golden Nature Guide. Much later in life, I wrote a book for the series, Birdlife, and here I am today with my 4th book about birds, Audubon Backyard Birdwatch.

As an expert, what are some features and details in Audubon Backyard Birdwatch that are unique to this book in particular?

Audubon Backyard Birdwatch is beautifully illustrated and compact, presenting outstanding information on the most exciting and relevant birding topics, from migrations to nesting behavior to family life. The book also explains how to attract birds into your own backyard with the right feed, housing, and landscaping, and the foldout poster is a helpful tool for window-seat birdwatching.

What exactly is the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)?

The GBBC is an annual four-day event sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, engaging bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginners to experts, and it takes as little as 15 minutes. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Participants count birds anywhere for as little or as long as they wish during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. To report their counts, they fill out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count web site. As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada, as well as compare this year's numbers with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see. In recent years as many as 7.5 million birds of 623 species were reported by more than 60,000 participants!

What makes Audubon Backyard Birdwatch the perfect pocket companion for participants in GBBC?

Even though a variety of species are seen on the GBBC, less than 30 make up the majority of the sightings. These 30 common backyard birds are featured in Audubon Backyard Birdwatch. The color photos in the foldout poster will aid in identification, and the fascinating biology and responsible bird attracting methods provided in the book will keep birders engaged in watching long after the GBBC.

How can people find out more information about signing up and participation in this year’s GBBC?

To participate, please visit: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc or click here!