Join the Great Backyard Bird Count this Weekend

I am very excited about the Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place Friday-Monday, February 12-15, all over North America. Anyone can participate, even if you only have 15 minutes and are completely new to birding.

Here’s how it works: You can pick a spot to go watch birds (a backyard, a park, a trail, a marsh, or anywhere you think birds might be) or you can join an organized event. You can download a very thorough check list of birds that are likely to be seen in your area. You record the birds that you see and then go home and either send in your checklist or enter the names and numbers in online.

There are lots more tips about counting and recording birds, tricky identifications, binoculars, and much more on BirdSource’s Great Backyard Bird Count page. The site also features recordings of bird sounds and more activities for kids.

The All About Birds site has beautiful photos and information that can help you identify birds. These are the top 10 birds that were reported during the count last year.

So, why count birds in the first place, and why now? The Cornell Ornithology Lab, the Audubon Society and others use the information from the annual February count to track the health of various bird species over time and, in some cases, take steps to protect them. Mid-February has proven a good time to count, as it occurs just before the major Spring migrations. If you find you like counting, you can actually help year-round on various projects.

Last year 11,558,638 individual birds were reported by more than 100,000 people. This year you could be part of the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Photos: Painted Bunting and Green Honeycreeper by Doug Janson, Flame Colored Tanager by Jerry Oldenettel, Blue Jay: Creative Commons, Northern Spotted Owl by Susan Sachs Lipman

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4 Responses to Join the Great Backyard Bird Count this Weekend

  1. We’re looking forward to participating! Thanks for all the great resources.

  2. Hi Debi! Great to see you. You’re most welcome! I figured you’d be participating in the bird count. You’ve been doing a lot of great birdwatching from your yard already. Are you planning to go anywhere special to watch? I’m going with some friends and families to the China Camp area of the San Francisco Bay. We’re guessing there will be a lot of different shore and land birds to see.

  3. We did this last year (and counted a whole lot of magpies and sparrows–nothing too thrilling), but since I haven’t filled the feeders all winter I don’t think we’ll do it this time around. Maybe we’ll head into the woods and count chickadees and woodpeckers–that’s almost my backyard.

    • Hi Mel! Did you end up going out into the woods? Did you spot anything? As you can see by my most recent post, we had a pretty fun and successful morning of birdwatching here. The activity really made me look at birds differently. I always had an awareness of them and a desire to identify who I was looking at, but this heightened it somehow. In addition, being in a new (to me) special habitat was very stimulating.

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