HUNTERTOWN — The registration deadline for ACRES Land Trust’s second annual Bird Blitz is Friday. The June 3-9 event welcomes backyard bird watchers and avid birders alike, and to encourage new bird watchers this year, ACRES partnered with local libraries for pre-blitz presentations in May and with regional Audubon societies for June 2 workshops.
“Bird Blitz is a fun way to enjoy time outdoors while contributing to something much bigger,” said Jason Kissel, executive director of ACRES. “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.”
Participants will 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, recording the date and location of each outing.
ACRES Bird Blitzers continue to establish 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 including 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. There’s also potential to show area-wide and property-specific trends over the long run — especially where folks are regularly submitting observations,” said Casey Jones, ACRES’ director of land management and an avid birder. “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.”
Registration for the 2018 Bird Blitz costs $5 per participant, and teams are welcome. Blitzers can choose any preserve. 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.
The Allen County Public Library will host three presentations before the event, during which participants can learn more information on birding:
- Aboite Branch, 5630 Coventry Lane, Fort Wayne — 7 p.m., today.
- Dupont Branch, 536 E. Dupont Road, Fort Wayne — 2 p.m., Saturday, May 19
- Georgetown Branch, 6600 E. State Blvd., Fort Wayne — 7 p.m., Monday, May 21
June 2 regional Audubon birding basics workshops will be held 8 a.m. at the Asherwood Nature Preserve in Wabash; 9 a.m. at the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown; 9 a.m. at the Limberlost State Historic Site in St. Geneva; and 1 p.m. at the Bittersweet Branch Public Library in Mishawaka.
ACRES will host a Bird Blitz after party 2-4 p.m., Sunday, June 10 at the ACRES Office on the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, 1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown.