On Friday February 13, people will have the opportunity to participate in a large-scale science project. You don’t need fancy equipment, quantitative prowess or background. Just look outside the window and count birds for ten minutes. That’s right, you heard me. The Great Backyard Bird Count will be taking place from the 13th-16th. The goal is to engage people in the scientific process and enable researchers to acquire data about bird populations that would be impossible to get with isolated research teams. Who cares about birds? Well, if you’ve ever taken the time to bird-watch you’d know that birds are beautiful. But that aside, understanding bird populations and changes in bird communities gives researchers information about the ecological health about the surrounding environment and lends critical insights into needs for conservation efforts, how diseases (like West Nile Virus) are taking hold in one place versus another, and the pattern of bird populations studies over years can help scientists understand more global changes in the environment that could be worrisome (or encouraging). Learn more and participate at the website for the Backyard Bird Count and take a few minutes to become a scientist yourself.