Learn about the Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17 at MDC's Springfield Nature Center

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Watching birds is a great way to learn more about birds and your observations can also provide useful data for biologists through programs like the Great Backyard Bird Count.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a citizen-driven bird-study effort of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. People can learn how they can participate in this program Feb. 17 at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) event “Great Backyard Bird Count.” This informative event, which will be 10 a.m.-1 p.m., is for all ages and will be at MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center. The nature center is located in southeast Springfield at 4601 S. Nature Center Way. Registration is not required because people can come any time between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 17 to talk to nature center volunteer naturalists about how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. People can learn more about this event at:


Despite its name, the Great Backyard Bird Count isn’t limited to what participants see in their own backyards. People who want to expand their “backyard” surveys can go to local parks, conservation areas, lakes, or other places where they might see birds.

Last year, observations were made for more than 7,500 bird species. The longer this type of data is collected, the more meaningful it becomes as population trends and bird movements become noticeable. The data collected can show how weather is influencing bird migrations and, along with that, can help experts determine if a region’s weather patterns are changing. Great Backyard Bird Count data can also highlight differences in bird diversity in different parts of the continent.

At the Feb. 17 event, MDC volunteer naturalists will explain how – whether you’re a veteran birder or a novice – you can collect data that can be valuable to bird research. People can also do some data collecting during their time at the nature center that day, either from the bird-viewing room or along the trails.

People can stay informed about upcoming programs at MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People who have questions about how to sign up for text alerts from the nature center or want more information about the facility or other upcoming events can call 417-888-4237.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding in-person and virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/events.