It’s Almost Time!

Time for what?

The 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count!

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The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a worldwide citizen-science project run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society. The goal of the count is to help scientists track changes in bird populations. Data collected from the GBBC will help scientists investigate how weather, climate, migration patterns, and diseases are impacting bird populations from all over the globe. Here’s the best part about it: anyone can participate.

When does the Great Backyard Bird Count begin?

The GBBC takes places every year for 4 days the 3rd weekend of February. This year the count is Friday, February 17 to Monday, February 20.  Why February? It gives scientist the opportunity to find out about the distribution of bird species before the spring migration begins in March.

How do I participate?

Participating is free, easy, and fun! Like I said earlier, this bird count is global so you can participate in any country.

  1. Pick a location. It doesn’t have to even be your backyard, anywhere will do.
  2. Count all the bird species you see for 15 minutes or more. I suggest making a list to track the names of your species and the totals of each.
  3. Submit your data on eBird. ebird.org is the website the Cornell Lab and Audubon use to gather the data you send them. Creating an eBird account is quick, easy, and free. Once you make an account you can add your lists from the GBBC, as well as pictures. It’s also great because once the GBBC is over you can continue to submit data if you like to keep lists from you birding trips. eBird also keeps track of your life list, and you can see what other birders are finding in your area.
  4. Go birding as many times you want, for as long as you want, throughout the 4-day weekend.

That’s it! This is my 3rd year participating in the GBBC. Like last year, I will be birding all 4 days, and will report my counts for you here on the blog. Here in New Jersey, the bird count weekend always tends to fall on the coldest weekend of the year (last year we went to Forsythe to do the wildlife drive in 10 degree weather!). However, this year the New Jersey temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s. I’m curious to see how my counts will differ from 2016.

Speaking of 2016, over 163,000 people from 130 countries submitted over 162,000 checklists and counted 5,689 bird species. That’s over half of the world’s bird species and totaled to over 18 million individual birds! 

If you would like to learn more information, check out the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

We have the opportunity as birders to top that number this year, so I hope you participate. It’s going to be a great weekend!

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Author: BirdNation

I am an avid birder, teacher, and nature lover. I primarily birdwatch throughout New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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