The Great Backyard Bird Count had its biggest year ever in 2013.
Data received so far show participants in 103 countries counted more than 25.5 million birds representing 3,144 species, according to a news release from the organizers of the Feb. 15-18 count. Information is still coming in.
This was the first year the count expanded beyond the United States and Canada to the rest of the world.
Some interesting facts from the count:
• The five species reported on the most checklists were the northern cardinal, dark-eyed junco, mourning dove, downy woodpecker and house finch.
• The five species with the most individual birds reported were the snow goose, Canada goose, red-winged blackbird, European starling and American coot.
• As expected, U.S. bird watchers noted a southward movement of a massive number of northern finch species. Among them was the common redpoll, reported in a record 36 states. Scientists believe the movements are related to natural fluctuations in crops of the seeds the birds feed on.
• The weather system that created Superstorm Sandy also blew some European birds to North America. One of them was the northern lapwing, reported in Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
• The rare red-flanked bluetail made its first appearance in the count, showing up in Vancouver, British Columbia; and Japan. The bird is native to Asia.
Visit Mount Vernon
A garden tour to George Washington’s Mount Vernon is being offered by Ohio first lady Karen Kasich and the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden.
The tour, from May 17 to 19, will include a tour of the mansion; a tour of the gardens, led by Mount Vernon’s director of horticulture, Dean Norton; and an opportunity to enjoy the estate’s annual Wine Festival.
The tour will raise money for the friends organization.
Cost is $350 before March 8 or $400 after that date, not including hotel accommodations. Details are at www.friendsohio.org.
Fashions with duct tape
The creative, quirky Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest is back.
The contest challenges high school students from the United States and Canada to create prom fashions from Duck brand duct tape.
Each member of the winning couple will win a $5,000 scholarship, and so will the school that hosts their prom. A new Singles Category will award $500 to a solo student and his or her school.
Details are at http://duck brand.com/promotions/stuck- at-prom. Entries will be accepted from March 11 to June 10.
• Greater Akron Orchid Society Show, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Donzell’s Flower & Garden Center, 937 E. Waterloo Road, Akron. Orchid displays, vendors and information. Free. Information: 330-492-4534.
• Cleveland Botanical Garden events, 11030 East Blvd. Orchid Mania, through March 10. Ask the Orchid Doctor, 1-3 p.m. today and March 9. Garden admission: $9.50; children ages 3-12, $4; members and younger children, free. 216-721-1600 or www.cbgarden.org.
• Warm Up Akron meetings, 3 p.m. Tuesday, Danbury of Cuyahoga Falls, 1695 Queens Gate Circle, and 2 p.m. Thursday, Danbury of North Canton, 181 Applegrove St. NE. Members knit or crochet squares that are used to make afghans for needy people in the Akron area. Information: 330-699-3252 or http://warmupakron.webs.com.
• Needlework Circle meeting, 6 p.m. Thursdays, Seville Library, North Center Street. 330-769-2852.
• Pesky Plants, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Brushwood Pavilion, Furnace Run Metro Park, 4955 Townsend Road, Richfield. Presentation on invasive plants and their prevention and control. $10; master gardener volunteers and Ohio certified volunteer naturalists, $5. Registration: 330-928-4769, ext. 17.
• Rain Barrel Workshop, 9-11 a.m. March 9, Green Central Administration Building 1755 Town Park Blvd. Rain harvesting information and demonstration of rain barrel installation. Free. Registration: 330-896-6621 or www.cityofgreen.org.
• Bonsai Basics & Beyond, 11 a.m. March 9, Donzell’s Flower & Garden Center, 937 E. Waterloo Road, Akron. Speaker: Dale Cochoy, Akron Canton Bonsai Society. Free. Registration: 330-724-0550, ext. 110.
• What’s New & Exciting for 2013, 11 a.m. March 9, Dayton Nurseries, 3459 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Norton. Speaker: Dayton’s Karen Martin and Tom Dayton. Garden club members $6, others $10. Seating is limited. Advance payment is requested, but participants may pay at the door. Registration: 330-825-3320 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the form at www.daytonnursery.com.
• Medina County Home and Garden Show, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 9 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 10, Medina County Community Center, 735 Lafayette Road, Medina. Exhibits, gardens, craft beer tasting, demonstrations. $5; seniors, $4; children 12 and younger, free. www.medinahomeandgardenshow.com.
• The Power of Pollinators Short Course, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 14-15, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster Township. Workshop on the biology, identification and conservation of native bees. $20, including lunch. Registration: http://go.osu.edu/R8k, 330-263-3723 or email@example.com.
Submit notices of classes, programs and events two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org or Home and Garden News, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640. Please include name and phone number. All events must be open to the public.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or email@example.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.