Over President’s Weekend there was an annual event that happens every year, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), and I participated on behalf of our Center counting birds in Ballona Discovery Park on Monday, February 20th and posted my bird list on eBird. In just 45 minutes I saw 17 species!
What’s great about the GBBC program, and eBird in general, is that participation is free, it’s fun – and it’s for the birds. That’s right, scientists learn so much when people from all over the world participate in the GBBC and other birdwatching programs through eBird.
The best part of the 4-day event is that you can do the bird surveys anywhere, submit checklists on-line, do one day or all four, and be part of this worldwide effort, either in your yard or right next door to Playa Vista Elementary School in Ballona Discovery Park! So far 7,387 species have been observed worldwide as part of the GBBC, and they are still accepting checklists until March 1.
Even though the event is over, counting birds and keeping track of them is not. You can do this all year round! eBird is a free app and is a great way to keep track of the birds you see, and compare your data with others.
Why count birds?
Birds are literally the “canary in the coal mine”, indicator species that tell us how healthy our communities are for wildlife to thrive. Diversity is key, and we want our communities to be teaming with birds, who help keep the insect population down and assist in the pollination of plants.
FYI, Ballona Discovery Park is actually a birding “hot spot” on eBird, so there is prior data to reference and future opportunities for birding enthusiasts and students to explore
If you have never been, Ballona Discovery Park is located at 13110 Bluff Creek Drive, Playa Vista. Coming from Lincoln Boulevard it’s past the Sports Park, past the Elementary School (with yellow siding), on your right. There is free street parking available on Bluff Creek and in the area.
The Project Team that manages Ballona Discovery Park – LMU, Friends of Ballona Wetlands, and the community of Playa Vista, makes sure the Park is ready for you, and the bird feeders and bird baths are constantly filled. On behalf of all the Park partners, please let us know at CURes how we can help you “Experience Ballona!” by experiencing the birds in Ballona Discovery Park.
Lisa Fimiani, Drollinger Environmental Fellow