Photo by Dave Fox

Scarlet Tanager photo by Dave Fox

The registration deadline is swiftly approaching for ACRES Land Trust’s 2nd Annual Bird Blitz, to be held June 3-9. ACRES Land Trust welcomes backyard bird-watchers and avid birders alike to register by May 18 to participate at acreslandtrust.org/birdblitz. This year, to encourage new birdwatchers, ACRES partnered with regional Audubon societies to present pre-blitz workshops June 2.

“Bird Blitz is a fun way to enjoy time outdoors while contributing to something much bigger,” says Jason Kissel, executive director of Indiana’s oldest and largest land trust. “ACRES promises to protect the lands we own forever, so Bird Blitz data can support us far into the future. Plus, it’s an exciting, fast growing sport that doesn’t take much more than curiosity and patience to begin.”

ACRES will ask Bird Blitz participants to act as citizen scientists, recording their bird tallies on ebird, an online species monitoring database created and supported by The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. Participants can choose to bird watch many times over the week of the event in multiple ACRES preserves. They will then record the date and location of each outing.

In its second year, ACRES Bird Blitzers are establishing a baseline of species for this same week annually that ACRES will review over time. The 2017 inaugural Bird Blitz tally included 76 participants, on 35 ACRES preserves, spotting 89 species, such as the Sandhill Crane, Short-eared owl and Cerulean warbler. Families, scouting groups, local businesses and organizations like the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School students formed teams.

Great Blue Heron by Dave Fox

“Wildlife surveys reflect the complexity, diversity and health of habitats across the ACRES service area today. There’s also potential to show area-wide and property-specific trends over the long run — especially where folks are regularly submitting observations.” says Casey Jones, director of land management and avid birder. “Plus, it’s a good bet that folks who contribute their birding skills to citizen science efforts in natural places today will help protect these habitats over time, or by becoming an ACRES member now.”

2018 Bird Blitz registration costs $5 per participant, teams are welcome. Blitzers can choose any preserve.  Registration closes May 18. Register at acreslandtrust.org/birdblitz or by phone at 260-637-2273. Before the Blitz, participants will receive a species tally sheet, ebird data-entry instructions and a Bird Blitz patch, designed by Adam Johnson of Yonder Clothing Co.

June 2 regional Audubon birding basics workshops:

-Mississinewa Audubon Club: 8 a.m., Asherwood, 7496 W. SR 124, Wabash, Indiana.

-Tippecanoe Audubon Society: 9 a.m., Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, 1802 Chapman Road, Huntertown, Indiana.

-Robert Cooper Audubon Society: 9 a.m., Limberlost State Historic Site, 202 6th St, Geneva, Indiana.

-South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society, 1 p.m., Bittersweet Branch Public Library, 602 N Bittersweet Rd, Mishawaka, Indiana.

ACRES will host a Bird Blitz After Party, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday, June 10 at the ACRES Office on the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve, 1802 Chapman Rd, Huntertown, IN 46748.

ACRES members protect 7,052 acres of local natural and working land the tristate area, forever. Explore more than 70 miles of trails, watch birds and other wildlife, take photographs, enjoy family time, get fit, reflect on nature’s beauty or share an adventure, for free from dawn to dusk: acreslandtrust.org/preserves.