OK, bird-watching enthusiasts, here’s a quiz for you?
By BRENT FRAZEE
The Kansas City Star
Which country ranks highest in the number of species found during the Great Backyard Bird Count?
Hint: You aren’t going to get this one, unless you cheated.
Give up? India.
There, participants discovered 765 species of birds, the top total of all countries participating. That exceeds even the United States, where 637 species were found.
India’s emergence as a bird-watching hot spot underscores the rising worldwide popularity of the pastime. The Great Backyard Bird Count, which was held Feb. 14-17, included participants from 127 countries this year, up from 110 last year.
The count, a joint effort of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, encourages participants to count the number of birds and different species they see over a four-day period, then send their checklists in to be tallied.
Final results haven’t been figured yet, but preliminary totals reveal some interesting findings.
• The northern cardinal was the most frequently reported species. It was followed by the dark-eyed junco and the mourning dove.
• Snow geese won honors for the most numerous species found. Almost 2 million snows were found by birders participating in the count. Canada geese ranked second and European starlings third.
• The United States had the most participants, with almost 103,000 checklists turned in. Canada ranked second with 11,395.
• California led the United States with 7,607 checklists turned in and 354 species found. New York was second with 7,161 participants and Pennsylvania third with 6,413.
• Checklists have been received from such far-away countries as Kazakhstan, China, Kenya, Iceland and Antarctica.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.