If nesting closer to home this year has made you a bit of a bird fancier, you’re not alone.
Our feathered friends are doing their part to lift human spirits, and the 24th annual Great Backyard Bird Count gives budding birdwatchers and bird-count veterans alike a chance to use their skills.
From Feb. 12 to 15, West Coast birders will join others around the world in counting the birds they see, and entering their checklists online.
“The GBBC is a simple, welcoming project that both new and veteran birdwatchers enjoy,” says David Bonter, with the Center for Engagement in Science and Nature at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Birds are everywhere and can be counted in backyards, neighbourhoods, suburban parks, wild areas, and cities. Scientists need the eyes of the world to collect information about where the birds are.”
During the 2020 count, birdwatchers set new records for the event, turning in nearly 250,000 lists of birds seen, from more than 100 countries, identifying nearly 7,000 of the world’s estimated 10,000 bird species. Data gathered during the count and through other survey projects highlight changes in the numbers and distribution of wild birds over time.
“By participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, community scientists contribute data that we use to protect birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow,” says Chad Wilsey, chief scientist at National Audubon Society. “In return, studies tell us that pausing to observe birds, their sounds and movements, improve human health. Participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is a win-win for birds and people.”
This year there’s a new way to send in an observation – through the Cornell Lab’s free Merlin Bird ID app. If you use the app during the count and save a bird you’ve identified, it’s also counted for the GBBC. As in the past, using the eBird platform on your mobile app and computer are still great ways to enter your data. Visit the Count’s How to Participate page to learn more about entering your bird sightings.
Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org.
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