Citizen Science

The Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will is held in February of every year. Bird watchers of all ages are needed to count birds across the US.
Northern Flicker Photo: Alan Gubanich/Great Backyard Bird Count
Citizen Science

The Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will is held in February of every year. Bird watchers of all ages are needed to count birds across the US.

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In advance of this year’s GBBC, Audubon Rockies has partnered with local businesses in four communities to give away free blocks of suet to attract birds to your home, office, or school. Simply stop in to one of the locations across Wyoming and Colorado listed below, February 7-15 during store hours, to receive your gift while supplies last.

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Why is the GBBC Important?
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Why is the GBBC Important?

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What Have We Learned and the Website
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Bird populations are always shifting and changing. Find out what the citizen scientists have learned and about other resources on the birdcount.org website.

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The 15th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will be held February 12-15, 2016. The 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 U.S. and Canada. Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds and to display results in near real-time.  In 2015, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 100 countries turned in more than 92,000 checklists online (counting 5,090 species of birds) - creating the continent's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded!

Help make the most successful count ever by participating this year!  Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 12-15, 2016. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world.

GREAT SUET GIVE-AWAY OF 2016!

In advance of this year’s GBBC, Audubon Rockies has partnered with local businesses in four communities to give away free blocks of suet to attract birds to your home, office, or school.  Simply stop in to one of the locations across Wyoming and Colorado listed below, February 7-15 during store hours, to receive your gift while supplies last. 

Sheridan, WY

Gillette, WY

Casper, WY

Fort Collins, CO

Pagosa Springs, CO

WHY IS THE GBBC IMPORTANT?  

Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the birds are. Bird populations are dynamic, and constantly in flux. No single scientist or team of scientists could hope to document and understand the complex distribution and movements of so many species in such a short time.  
 
Scientists use information from the Great Backyard Bird Count, along with observations from other citizen-science projects (such as the Christmas Bird Count, Project FeederWatch, and eBird), helping us to learn more about how birds are doing and how to protect them and the environment we share. The longer these data are collected, the more meaningful they become in helping scientists investigate far-reaching questions, like these:

  • How will the weather and climate change influence bird populations? 
  • How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years? 
  • What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas? 

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM GBBC?

Bird populations are always shifting and changing. For example, 2009 GBBC data highlighted a huge southern invasion of Pine Siskins across much of the eastern United States. Participants counted 279,469 Pine Siskins on 18,528 checklists, as compared to the previous high of 38,977 birds on 4,069 checklists in 2005. Failure of seed crops farther north caused the Siskins to move south to find their favorite food.

ABOUT THE WEBSITE

In addition to registering and entering your results,  www.birdcount.org web site is a great resource:

  • Explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count.
  • Tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators.
  • Enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery.

All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

For more information about the GBBC, visit www.birdcount.org. Or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 or (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473) or GBBC at Cornell University, or Audubon at Citizen Science at the Audubon Society or (202) 861-2242 ext 3050.



 

"This count is so fun because anyone can take part -- we all learn and watch birds together -- whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher.  I like to invite new birders to join me and share the experience. Get involved, invite your friends, and see how your favorite spot stacks up." 

-Gary Langham, Chief Scientist

Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from novice bird watchers to experts. Participants count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org.

Bird populations are always shifting and changing. For example, 2009 GBBC data highlighted a huge southern invasion of Pine Siskins across much of the eastern United States. Participants counted 279,469 Pine Siskins on 18,528 checklists, as compared to the previous high of 38,977 birds on 4,069 checklists in 2005. Failure of seed crops farther north caused the Siskins to move south to find their favorite food.

On the www.birdcount.org web site, participants can explore real-time maps and charts that show what others are reporting during the count. The site has tips to help identify birds and special materials for educators. Participants may also enter the GBBC photo contest by uploading images taken during the count. Many images will be featured in the GBBC website’s photo gallery. All participants are entered in a drawing for prizes that include bird feeders, binoculars, books, CDs, and many other great birding products.

For more information about the GBBC, visit www.birdcount.org. Or contact the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at (800) 843-2473 or (outside the U.S., call (607) 254-2473) or GBBC at Cornell University, or Audubon at Citizen Science at the Audubon Society or (202) 861-2242 ext 3050.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible, in part, by generous support from Wild Birds Unlimited.

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