13 Feb 2014

Get geared up for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Pine Grosbeak was one of the 4351 bird species recorded in last year's event (Norm Dougan)Pine Grosbeak was one of the 4351 bird species recorded in last year's event (Norm Dougan)
Pine Grosbeak was one of the 4351 bird species recorded in last year's event (Norm Dougan)
By Bird Studies Canada

Birdwatchers around the world are invited to help gather crucial information as part of a free, fun, and family-friendly event taking place February 14-17, 2014.

From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, tens of thousands of birdwatchers from more than 100 countries are expected to participate in the 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society (BirdLife in the United States) with Bird Studies Canada (BirdLife co-partner).

Participating is easy, and it helps birds! The GBBC engages people of all ages and birding skill levels in counting birds to support bird conservation. These volunteers go birdwatching in backyards, local parks, nature reserves, or wherever they happen to be. Participants count birds for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, and report their sightings online. The results provide a snapshot of the health of bird populations, at a scale that would not otherwise be possible.

Last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count shattered records after going global for the first time, thanks to integration with the eBird online checklist program. Participants reported their bird sightings from all seven continents, including 111 countries and independent territories. More than 34.5 million birds and 4351 species were recorded – more than one-third of the world’s total bird species documented in just four days.

The recently-upgraded GBBC website includes new ways to view and explore results in real time, as observations are submitted. All are welcome to visit the site throughout the weekend to follow the count’s progress, explore species reports by community, region, or country, and share photographs. Winning images from the 2013 photo contest are also available on the GBBC website.

The Great Backyard Bird Count provides an excellent opportunity for more experienced birders to introduce their friends, families, and communities to the wonderful world of birding – and is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature and make a difference for birds.