The 17th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count wants you!
For just 15 minutes on any day from February 14th-17th
It’s open to everyone, regardless of experience, a fantastic science project for grades K-12 too. Do it this year… for the birds, for science, and for fun!Folks from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in this year’s Bird Count. Anyone can count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more of the specified days and enter their sightings at www.BirdCount.org. The information gathered by tens of thousands of volunteers helps track the health of bird populations at a scale that would not otherwise be possible. The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada. Great for educators and class projects; kindergarten thru high school, it gets kids outside and involved with the nature! We’ll be posting results online via links to The Cornell Lab once the count has ended!
Last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count shattered records after going global for the first time. Participants reported their bird sightings from all 7 continents, including 111 countries and independent territories. More than 34.5 million birds and 3,610 species were recorded – nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days.
It’s easy to get started… just a few simple steps
A more in-depth video from The Cornell Lab explains how to take part, why participation is needed, and what we can learn from the count.
It’s actually bigger than you think, and you really do matter!
Around the third week in February, backyard birding fanatics from novice to seasoned professional, and young to old, will join forces with Audubon and Cornell Lab’s Great Backyard Bird Count. You can participate in this critical citizen science project in just five easy steps (from Zach Slavin in Cornell’s Education & Nature Centers program. Their most helpful hint: “you can even participate in your pajamas“.
Check out Cornell Lab’s Instructional Video (at the end of page) or the easy list below.
1. Make a plan: You’ll need to count birds for a minimum of 15 minutes on one of the count days, but you can count all four days, and you can count for as long as you want. More counting = more data to show us where the birds are.
2. Know your place: Decide whether your count is a STATIONARY COUNT, like watching a feeder out the window, or a TRAVELING COUNT, such as birding during a hike. Print out a data form so that you’ll know what information to record, and a regional bird checklist to help with identification.
3. Count: Record the highest number of each species seen together at one time in stationary counts. For traveling counts, record the total number of individual birds of each species you see during the walk. For more info, visit http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/howto.html.
4. Report: Enter your findings through the website by clicking on “Enter Your Checklists!” and following instructions.
5. Spread the word: Tell others about your experience. Find out how to be a GBBC ambassador by clicking “Get Involved” on the website. Also, join the GBBC Facebook group, and tweet about the count (use #GBBC when tweeting).
Ready to start? Go to www.birdsource.org/gbbc/ for everything you need.
Great Backyard Bird Count Asks for Your Help
Count Birds February 18-21
Black-crested Titmouse. Photo by GBBC participant Gregg Lee, Texas.
February 8, 2011—The 14th annual Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 18–21, 2011. People of all ages and skill levels are needed to count birds in their yards, neighborhoods, or other locations across the United States and Canada. Simply tally birds for at least 15 minutes on any day of the count, then go to www.birdcount.org and enter the highest number of each species seen at any one time.
Coordinated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada, the count provides an instantaneous snapshot of birdlife across the continent for all to see. Anyone can watch as the tallies come in at www.birdcount.org. Organizers hope to receive more than 100,000 checklists during the event, with tallies of more than 600 bird species in all.
Last year’s participants reported more than 1.8 million American Robins, as well as rarities such as the first Red-billed Tropicbird in the count’s history.
“Whether people observe birds in backyards, parks, or wilderness areas, the Great Backyard Bird Count is an opportunity to share their results at www.birdcount.org,” said Judy Braus, Audubon’s vice president of Education and Centers. “It’s fun and rewarding for people of all ages and skill levels–and it gets people outside!”
“When thousands of people all tell us what they’re seeing, we can detect changes in birds’ numbers and locations from year to year,” said Dr. Janis Dickinson, director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
“While this is the depths of winter in most of Canada and only the hardiest birds brave the cold, understanding of trends in the distribution and abundance at this time of year is important as well,” said Dr. George Finney, president of Bird Studies Canada.
A young GBBC participant carefully makes out her checklist. Photo by GBBC participant Christina Phinney, Michigan.
Data from the Great Backyard Bird Count can provide an early signal of changes in bird populations. Past counts showed a drop in reports of American Crows after outbreaks of West Nile virus in 2003, a finding consistent with studies showing crow populations declined by 50–75% in some states. Maps from the count have also captured the paths of migrating Sandhill Cranes and recorded the dramatic spread Eurasian Collared-Doves. Introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s, the species was reported in just 8 states during the 1999 GBBC. A decade later, it was reported in 39 states and Canadian provinces.
“I have joined the Great Backyard Bird Count for the past three years and am really looking forward to doing it again,” said participant Kathy Bucher of Exira, Iowa. “I really enjoy nature and bird watching. My mother and I share updates on the birds we see. It’s a fun hobby to share with a loved one!”
For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, visit www.birdcount.org. The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter their bird checklists online.