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Wild Birds Unlimited Encourages the Public to Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

CARMEL, Ind., Jan. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- February 15 through February 18, 2013 marks the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Bird Studies Canada and the National Audubon Society. Wild Birds Unlimited, a North American backyard bird feeding and nature specialty store, as well as a sponsor for the event, is encouraging the public to get involved in this international project.

Participating individuals, families, schools and organizations are encouraged to count birds at bird feeders and in backyards, local parks or other locations. Those tallies are then reported online through the BirdSource web site at www.birdcount.org. Scientists then use that data to analyze bird populations, migration patterns, habitat needs and identify birds at risk of becoming endangered.

"We're honored to be the major sponsor of the Great Backyard Bird Count. It's an event that encourages families to connect with nature and contributes to conservation efforts," said Jim Carpenter, CEO and founder of Wild Birds Unlimited. "Newcomers to the bird watching hobby should visit their local Wild Birds Unlimited store to learn how to get involved."

To participate, birders should watch birds for at least 15 minutes at the location of their choice on one or more of the count days. They are to estimate the number of birds they see for each species they can identify. Participants select their location on a map, answer a few questions, enter their tallies, and then submit that data to share their sightings with others around the world.

The data for the count will be powered by "eBird," an online checklist program for all of the world's 10,240 bird species. Birders can view what others see on interactive maps, keep their own records, and have their tallies recorded. Because of the GBBC's partnership with eBird, this year marks the first time that the annual study is open to bird watchers worldwide who wish to participate.

For more information about the GBBC, call or stop by your local Wild Birds Unlimited store. To find your nearest location, visit https://maps.wbu.com/.

About Wild Birds Unlimited

Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit our website and shop online at www.wbu.com. To learn how you can open your own Wild Birds Unlimited, visit www.wbufranchise.com.

The Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=12882

CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT: Stacy Rubenstein, Fishman Public Relations 847.945.1300, srubenstein@fishmanpr.com

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