Webmaster: Mike Chapman
The Great Backyard Bird Count
February, 12-15, 2016!
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. Since then, more than 100,000 people of all
ages and walks of life have joined the four-day count each February to
create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. We
invite you to participate! Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds
you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You
can count from any location, anywhere in the world!
If you’re new to the count, first register online then enter your checklist. If you have already participated in another Cornell Lab citizen-science project, you can use your existing login. In 2015, Great Backyard Bird Count participants in more than 100 countries counted 5,090 species of birds on more than 147,000 checklists! During the count, you can explore what others are seeing in your area or around the world. Share your bird photos by entering the photo contest, or enjoy images pouring in from across the globe. Help make the most successful count ever by participating this year!
Why count birds?
Scientists and bird enthusiasts can learn a lot by knowing where the
birds are. Bird populations are dynamic; they are 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, to get the “big picture” about what is happening to bird populations. 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?
• Some birds, such as winter finches, appear in large numbers during some years but not others. Where are these species from year to year, and what can we learn from these patterns?
• How will the timing of birds’ migrations compare with past years?
• How are bird diseases, such as West Nile virus, affecting birds in different regions?
• What kinds of differences in bird diversity are apparent in cities versus suburban, rural, and natural areas?