Bring your family, friends, binoculars, and field guide books to Fort Clatsop and participate in the 12th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. The count, an international event created and sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, lets citizen scientists-you-record and contribute valuable information about how the distribution and abundance of birds are changing through time. In 2007, participants in the United States and Canada submitted a record-breaking 80,000 checklists to the count's online site, www.birdcount.org. Your list, short or long, helps.

From Friday, February 13 through Monday, February 16, visitors to Fort Clatsop can learn how to participate in the count, record bird numbers in the park and make plans to do counting in their own backyards. There will be ranger-led opportunities for visitors to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count in the park from Friday through Monday.

Join us at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park Saturday, February 14, for a full schedule of activities associated with the bird count. Saturday's events include two programs. Local birding expert Mike Patterson will lead a birding walk starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Visitor Center lobby followed by an illustrated talk in the Visitor Center Netul River Room, "Winter Birds of Clatsop County." Although leashed dogs are welcome at most of the park's outdoor programs, they are not allowed at this morning walk. In the afternoon, Sharnelle Fee, director of the Wildlife Center of the North Coast will speak at 2:00 pm in the Netul River Room. Fee founded the Wildlife Center of the North Coast ten years ago, offering people who find injured wildlife in the area a helpful resource. Fee will bring some of the center's education animals to the program. The Center has an owl, a common murre, a peregrine falcon, and a pelican to augment Fee's educational presentations. Her program will cover some of the dangers that wildlife face in this area, the work of the Wildlife Center of the North Coast, and how people can help local wildlife.

Then on Sunday, February 15, park rangers will lead bird walks and help with bird counts. Friday, February 13, and Monday February 16, park staff will assist with bird identification and counts. Binoculars are available for loan to use during the counts.

Park hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Activities associated with the Great Backyard Bird Count are all free. A variety of bird field guides are available for purchase at the Lewis & Clark National Park Association bookstore in the Fort Clatsop Visitor Center.

For more information on the national bird count event and the organizations behind the event, or to submit bird counts from your home: go to www.birdsource.org and click on the Great Backyard Bird Count picture. The weekend's birding events are sponsored by the Lewis & Clark National Park Association and the National Park Service. For more information, call the park at (503) 861-2471.

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