Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Backyard Bird Count 2013

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count will be held during this coming weekend (Feb. 15-18).

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes or longer, if one wishes, on a single day or on each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.

Northern Mockingbird - Mark Mussselman
Participants count birds anywhere for 15 minutes or longer during the four-day period. They tally the highest number of birds of each species seen together at any one time. For example, if three robins are spotted in the yard, the count for robins would be three. Later, if a single robin is spotted in the yard, the count for robins would remain at three (most seen at one time) and not increase to four. Participants can report their counts by filling out an online checklist at the Great Backyard Bird Count website at

As the count progresses, anyone with Internet access can explore what is being reported from their own towns or anywhere in the United States and Canada. They can also see how this year's numbers compare with those from previous years. Participants may also send in photographs, including a contest, of the birds they see. This is a tremendous opportunity for teachers to address science, social studies and math standards while helping scientists learn about birds in our hemisphere!

By knowing where the birds are, scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn much regarding the current state of birds. Bird populations are dynamic; they are constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.

The GBBC is a citizen-science project where everybody’s help, no matter how small, is valuable. Help make sure the birds from our community are well-represented in the count. It does not matter whether a report is for five species on a backyard feeder or during a walk through the neighborhood or for 25 species spotted during a day's outing to the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest.

There are plenty of ways to participate!  You do NOT need to be an expert on birds.

You can find tips here for counting birds, especially large flocks.

There is a poster of some common backyard birds here.


Twitter using #GBBC

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