This pandemic is for the birds

A rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) appears at a backyard feeder in Gaithersburg, Maryland. ©David Frey

As people have hunkered down at home, they’re turning to the birds in their backyards for entertainment. Birdwatching is seeing a big boost, the Associated Press reports. Downloads of popular bird identification apps — including those created by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology — have doubled over the previous year. Visits to Cornell’s live bird cams have doubled, too. And uploads of photos and bird calls to Cornell’s citizen science app eBird have also risen. Preliminary marketing data suggests sales in the “birding category” have also grown.

Meanwhile, spring bird counts are adapting to social distancing guidelines. Instead of heading out in teams for a day or weekend, participants in Portland, Oregon’s Birdathon will log birds individually over a period of weeks.

Read more from the Associated Press.