Folks looking for something to do at home over the long weekend can join in on the global Great Backyard Bird Count from the comfort of their lawn chair.
The 26th annual event runs from Friday through Monday, and all levels of birdwatchers are encouraged to take part.
Sarah Bradley, the stewardship coordinator for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), said the community science project helps collect vital information.
“It's an easy way to help conservation efforts in your local community,” she explained. “It provides scientists with data that helps them understand how bird populations might be changing over time in response to things like climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, or, more recently, the highly pathogenic avian influenza.”
All it takes to make a difference is for folks to spend fifteen minutes listening or watching for bird species in the comfort of their own backyard.
For beginner bird watchers who are winging it, the mobile apps Merlin Bird ID, or eBird can help with identifying.
"It's kind of like Shazam for bird calls," Bradley said. "You can record a bird call and it will produce the results and match to a bird call that it has in the app, and it will also do that for photos. It's a really great way to confirm a species that you're not familiar with."
The data can also be submitted through the app, going toward the Great Backyard Bird Count project, including details such as how much time was spent actively watching for birds and which species were identified.
According to a release from the NCC, more than 384,000 people in 192 different countries participated last year. In Canada, there were over 57,000 lists of birds submitted across all 10 provinces and 3 territories.
Bird populations are declining in Canada and habitat loss is a major factor. Shorebirds and aerial insectivores, like swallows, seem to be disappearing at alarming rates, and the loss of grassland birds in the prairies is a major concern.
NCC’s conservation work protects critical habitats for these species in Saskatchewan.
To learn more about this weekend's community science project, head to their website.