Embrace your inner bird curiosity by participating in the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count from February 17 through February 20.

The event helps the Audubon Society of Greater Denver create a snapshot of the bird populations throughout the seven-county metro area.

If you’re not sure where to begin, you can attend an interactive training event from 9 am to noon on February 4 at the Audubon Nature Center at Chatfield. Master birders and staff members will be available to teach you about the birds of the Colorado winter and help you practice using bird identification tools such as binoculars, field guides or your smart phone.

If you’re interested in venturing outside for more hands-on practice, the staff will guide you through the Blackbird and Muskrat ponds to hone your bird-spotting skills. You can also learn how to turn your backyard into a bird sanctuary — even if you don’t have a big space.

The National Audubon Society’s 2016 count boasted an estimated 163,763 bird watchers from more than 130 countries. Participants submitted 162,052 bird checklists, reporting 5,689 species — more than half the known bird species in the world.

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The event is free for local Audubon members, $5 for non-member adults and $3 for non-member children.

Images provided by Dick Vogel, Audubon Society volunteer