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Citizen scientists documented sightings of more than 55 bird species between February 17 and 24

ATLANTA – February 28, 2023 – Zoo Atlanta is pleased to announce the winners of its Birds, Backyards, and Beyond Contest, hosted in support of the Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count.

The First Place Grand Prize was the winner’s choice of a Catio outdoor cat environment or a birding experience at Zoo Atlanta with the Zoo’s Curator of Birds. In First Place is Linda Cheng. In Second Place is Steven Sklenicka, who will win a bag of certified bird-friendly coffee. In Third Place is Sarah Ballagh, who will win a selection of bird-strike window prevention decals. Winners were selected via a random drawing on February 27, 2023.

The Birds, Backyards, and Beyond Contest, which ran from February 17 through February 24, engaged birders of all experience levels in participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is now regarded as the largest biodiversity-focused citizen science project in the world. The count helps scientists gain an understanding of bird populations ahead of migration; explore the ways birds are affected by changes in the environment; and examine changes in the ranges of individual species.

Contest entrants were encouraged to submit eBird checklists to Zoo Atlanta to be entered into the drawing. Over the course of the contest, entries documented more than 55 bird species spotted in metro Atlanta, other locations in Georgia, northern Alabama, and on the grounds of Zoo Atlanta. Species included the American crow; American goldfinch; American robin; American white pelican; black-capped chickadee; blue jay; brown-headed cowbird; brown-headed nuthatch; brown thrasher; Canada goose; Carolina chickadee; Carolina wren; chipping sparrow; cedar waxwing; Cooper’s hawk; double-crested cormorant; dark-eyed junco; downy woodpecker; eastern bluebird; eastern meadowlark; eastern phoebe; eastern towhee; European starling; field sparrow; golden-crowned kinglet; gray catbird; great blue heron; hairy woodpecker; hermit thrush; herring gull; house finch; house sparrow; house wren; lesser goldfinch; mourning dove; northern cardinal; northern mockingbird; palm warbler; pileated woodpecker; pine siskin; pine warbler; purple finch; purple martin; red-bellied woodpecker; red-shouldered hawk; red-tailed hawk; red-winged blackbird; rock pigeon; sandhill crane; song sparrow; Steller’s jay; turkey vulture; tufted titmouse; white-breasted nuthatch; white-throated sparrow; and yellow-rumped warbler.

 More than 340 bird species, both native and migratory, travel through Georgia each year. In addition to threats from human-made challenges such as habitat loss, land development, and collisions with windows and other glass surfaces, more than 2 billion birds are killed in the U.S. each year by free-roaming, outdoor domestic cats.

Find out more ways to take action to take action to protect wildlife, both locally and globally, at

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