WARSAW — ACRES Land Trust welcomes backyard bird-watchers and avid birders alike to join its second annual Bird Blitz on ACRES preserves in the tristate area from June 3 to 9.
To encourage new birdwatchers, ACRES presents “Backyard Birding” at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 3, in Warsaw Community Public Library, 310 East Main St.
ACRES’ May 3 “Backyard Birding” presentation will provide an overview of ACRES, its nature preserves, and the songs and photos of birds and their preferred habitat. Workshop attendees will also learn about Bird Blitz. Registration for the weeklong event closes May 18.
“Bird Blitz is a fun way to enjoy time outdoors while contributing to something much bigger,” says Jason Kissel, executive director of Indiana’s oldest and largest land trust. “ACRES promises to protect the lands we own forever, so Bird Blitz data can support us far into the future. Plus, it’s an exciting, fast growing sport that doesn’t take much more than curiosity and patience to begin.”
ACRES will ask Bird Blitz participants to act as citizen scientists, recording their bird tallies on ebird, an online species monitoring database created and supported by The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. Participants can choose to bird watch many times over the week of the event in multiple ACRES preserves. They will then record the date and location of each outing.
In its second year, ACRES Bird Blitzers are establishing a baseline of species for this same week annually that ACRES will review over time. The 2017 inaugural Bird Blitz tally included 76 participants on 35 ACRES preserves, spotting 89 species such as the sandhill crane, short-eared owl and cerulean warbler. Families, scouting groups, local businesses and organizations like the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School students formed teams.
“Wildlife surveys reflect the complexity, diversity and health of habitats across the ACRES service area today,” says Casey Jones, director of land management and avid birder. “There’s also potential to show area-wide and property-specific trends over the long run—especially where folks are regularly submitting observations. Plus, it’s a good bet that folks who contribute their birding skills to citizen science efforts in natural places today will help protect these habitats over time, or by becoming an ACRES member now.”
2018 Bird Blitz registration costs $5 per participant. Teams are welcome. Registration closes May 18. Register at acreslandtrust.org/birdblitz or by phone at (260) 637-2273. Before the Blitz, participants will receive a species tally sheet, ebird data-entry instructions and a Bird Blitz patch, designed by Adam Johnson of Yonder Clothing Co.
ACRES will host a Bird Blitz after party from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 10 at the ACRES Office on the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, 1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown.