Feb 13 2014

Backyard Dinosaur Count This Weekend

It’s time to count the dinosaurs—
It shouldn’t be that hard
Just grab yourself a window
That overlooks your yard
A pencil and some paper
To make a little list
A “field guide to the dinosaurs”
To name the ones you missed
The count begins this Friday,
And by Sunday night, it’s done
It’s time to count the dinosaurs…
So won’t you join the fun?

That’s right, this weekend (which has already started in Australia, so I’d better post this!) is the annual Great Backyard Dinosaur Count (ok, they call it the Great Backyard Bird Count, but as cool as birds are, everything about them is cooler when you remember that they are dinosaurs).

It’s very easy to do, and can take as little as 15 minutes at some point over the weekend, or (if you happen to be an obsessive birder… which phrase might well be redundant…) you can spend every waking moment and a substantial portion of your dreams, from Friday morning to Sunday night, looking out your window and noting the different dinosaur species.

You can guess which end of the spectrum I fall on.


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  1. 1
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I’m pretty sure I can anticipate my count: zero. I haven’t seen any birds around in ages. It’s just been far too cold for them to be out and about.

  2. 2

    “…as cool as birds are, everything about them is cooler when you remember that they are dinosaurs…”

    I look at it the other way. As cool as dinosaurs are, everything about them is cooler when you remember that one lineage evolved flight. My daughter’s already learned to specify ‘non-avian’ when asking me what my favorite dinosaur is if she doesn’t want me to say either a swift or a golden eagle.

  3. 3
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    The cold is passing, I might see a few birds this weekend. Can I count the bits of dinosaur in my freezer?

    You know what, forget counting em. I’m pulling the cover off the BBQ and having myself a Great Backyard Dinosaur Roast

  4. 4

    I may be wet-blanketoidal, but birds are no more dinos than mammals are synapsids.
    They evolved folks! (And this so close to Darwin Day)

  5. 5


    If we get to call everything from stegosaurs to ceratopsians to hadrosaurs to sauropods to raptors to tyrannosaurs “dinosaurs”, that umbrella is certainly big enough to include birds. There is no bigger difference between critters we comfortably fit in that group than there is between raptors and, well, raptors.

  6. 6

    Hey it’s not quite the weekend in Oz yet!

    Here I am at my desk on Friday morning. (Despite common rumour, it’s not true that Australians start their weekends on Fridays.)

    We have crested pigeons, magpies, and multitudes of cockatoos here, plus more than a few dinosauroid professors. Start the count early!

  7. 7

    Well, the count itself officially starts Friday, so you are not early, weekend or not!

  8. 8

    One rule: do not, repeat, DO NOT count buffalo wings for this survey (even if you do divide by two).

  9. 9

    If I see a flying buffalo, I’m reporting it to *someone*, dinosaur or not!

  10. 10

    in NM, the velociraptor’s and T-rex’ legacy lives on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roadrunnerusarmy31.jpg

    pretty hard to watch these guys in action and not see dinos when you squint hard enough.

  11. 11
    Die Anyway

    Whenever I’m hiking in the cypress swamps and a great blue heron takes wing with his raspy squawk I feel as if I’ve been transported back to the Jurrasic.

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