Birders and casual observers across Whatcom County will be getting out their notepads for the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count that kicks off Friday, Feb. 14.
Anyone can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, which wraps up Monday, Feb. 17, and enter their sightings at birdcount.org. Last year people from 110 countries reported their findings, counting about 34 million birds and 4,258 species.
The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is co-sponsoring the event with the National Audubon Society.
Photos also are welcome, and new iPhone and Android apps make it easier to record your data. For more information, go to birdcount.org.