Many people have turned to bird watching over the past year for joy and relaxation. Chickadees, cardinals, finches, and other birds do their part to lift the human mood. The 24th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a great opportunity for all budding bird watchers and bird counting veterans to use their skills. People from around the world count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count and then enter their checklists online.
GBBC will take place February 12-15. Visit the new website.
“The GBBC is a simple, welcoming project that is fun for both new and experienced bird watchers,” said David Bonter, co-director of the Center for Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Birds are everywhere and can be counted in backyards, neighborhoods, suburban parks, wild areas, and cities. Scientists need the eyes of the world to gather information about where the birds are. “
During GBBC 2020, bird watchers set new records for the event, providing nearly 250,000 bird lists from more than 100 countries, identifying nearly 7,000 of the world’s estimated 10,000 bird species. The data collected by the GBBC and other survey projects show changes in the numbers and distribution of wild birds over time.
Tufted Titmouse, Copyright Mark S Szantyr, from the Surfbirds Galleries
Birds make us happy.
“By participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, scientists are contributing to the community data we use to protect birds and the places they need today and tomorrow,” said Chad Wilsey (@ChadBWilsey), Ph.D., chief scientist at the National Audubon Society. “In return, studies show that taking a break to observe birds, their sounds and movements improves human health. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is a win-win situation for birds and people. “
This year there is a new way to submit an observation – via the Cornell Lab’s free Merlin Bird ID app. If you use the app during the GBBC and save a bird that you have identified, it will also be counted for the GBBC. As in the past, using the eBird platform on your mobile app and computer is still a great way to enter your details. Visit our How To Participate page to learn more about entering your bird watching.
Just dive in!
“Why not try something new?” says Steven Price, President of Birds Canada. “If you are a seasoned bird watcher, challenge yourself to see how many new bird watchers can be interested in counting on their own patch. If you are just starting to learn about the birds in your garden, see if you can identify 3 new birds (or 5 new birds, or 10 new birds!). Check out The Roost’s resources for more suggestions. “
All attendees are encouraged to watch the birds safely in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. That means following the health and safety protocols for your area, not gathering in large groups and wearing masks if you are unable to stay at least three feet away from others. To learn more about how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint venture between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada, and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.