Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count!

I love birds!  I like to chase them sometimes when I need exercise.  Mostly I like to lay on the porch in the sunshine and listen to them sing.  We have lots of birds at our house because Mom puts feeders out for them and keeps parts of the yard as habitat for them.  And every year we participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The 2013 GBBC will take place Friday, February 15, through Monday, February 18.  It s an annual 4-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.  Mom started participating when she worked for the Girl Scouts.  I was just a puppy then so I didn't help much.  Now I do my best to rouse the birds in our yard so Mom can get a good look at them and count them all.  She says I'm not helping much, but I do what I can!

Everyone is welcome--from beginning bird watchers to experts - even little dogs. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Participants tally the number of individual birds of each species they see during their count period. They enter these numbers on the GBBC website.  You can also send in photographs of the birds you see for the GBBC photo contest.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is very important for helping birds.  Scientists use the GBBC information, along with observations from other citizen-science projects, such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists understand and help birds.
Participating is easy. To learn more about how to join the count, get bird ID tips, plus downloadable instructions, web buttons, and flyers, visit The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter at least one bird checklist online. Portions of the GBBC site are also now available in Spanish at

Friday, February 1, 2013

Make Some Bunny Happy - Adopt a Rescued Rabbit!

February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month!  I have all kinds of rabbits at my house.  I like to chase them when they come in my yard but Mom scolds me.  She says the rabbits live here too and I need to leave them alone.  I have to admit they are cute.  Almost as cute as guinea pigs!

Maybe that's why so many rabbits wind up in shelters.  They are cute and cuddly looking and people buy them on a whim, especially now - in the months before the Easter season.  But these people may not know how to take care of a rabbit.  And that can lead to problems like chewing.  Now the people are tired of the rabbit and have dropped them off at shelters - or worse, just turned them loose thinking they will survive like wild rabbits.

This month I want to teach everyone about rabbits and help get some already rescued rabbits adopted. 

Rabbits are smart and affectionate.  Mom says they can even be trained to use a litter box like our cats.  But just like puppies, they like to chew and that can be destructive.  Mom says that just like new parents baby-proof their home or new puppy parents puppy-proof their home, new adoptive parents of a rabbit must be willing to rabbit-proof their home.  Rabbits should also be spayed or neutered just like I was.  There are too many rabbits in shelters already.  We don't need more babies to add to the overpopulation problem.

Rabbits are not always good pets for children.  Children often want to us up and carry us.  I don't mind being carried.  I'm old and tired.  But most rabbits don't enjoy it.  When a child realizes that their new pet doesn't want to play with them, they may not want to keep it.  And then another rabbit gets dropped off at the local shelter.
Mom suggests that if you are considering adopting a rabbit, you should read about it first.  The House Rabbit Society is a great place to find out about caring for a pet rabbit.  After you get the facts, if you decide a rabbit is the right pet for you, please consider adoption first.  Contact your local shelter or rescue group, Petfinder, or the House Rabbit Society to find rabbits waiting for homes in your area.