Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count - February 14-17

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds!

Participants count birds for a minimum of 15 minutes (or longer) during the four-day period. Participants can count birds for a single day or during all four days of the GBBC. 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. Once you finish counting, simply visit the GBBC website (, create your FREE account, and submit your checklist.

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 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!

Pileated Woodpeckers - David Youngblood
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.

Barred Owls - David Youngblood
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 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

If you’re looking for a fun way to get involved, consider joining Audubon staff during our FREE public bird-watching walk on the Sawmill Branch Trail in Summerville, SC on Saturday, February 15th. We will meet in the parking lot for the Sawmill Branch Trail at 8 a.m. and count birds for the GBBC for about two hours. This is a free and easy way to learn more about the birds in your area AND contribute important information for the GBBC!

More details about our public bird-watching walks can be found here: