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How Many Birds Are In Your Backyard?

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 15-18

  • Red-bellied woodpeckers—named for their reddish tummy plumage—visit suet and sunflower seed feeders. John Harrison

  • Northern flickers have striking markings and are most often seen on tree trunks and high branches. Cindy Creighton/iStockphoto.com

  • Golden-crowned kinglets are in constant motion, making them fun to watch and tricky to photograph. John Harrison

  • The chestnut-backed chickadee is the western relative of the black-capped and Carolina chickadees. Janine Russell

  • Dark-eyed juncos are among the most frequently reported and most numerous species in the GBBC. Tony Tanoury

  • Red-breasted Nuthatches moved farther south than usual in 2011, but not nearly as far as in 2009. John Harrison

  • Common redpolls move south from their usual wintering ranges in Canada when seed supplies are down. Kellyplz/iStockphoto.com

  • A wooded site may yield a less common sighting, like this saw-whet owl, perched in the pines. M. Lorenzo/iStockphoto.com

  • A chickadee ally, the tufted titmouse was the tenth most often reported species in the 2011 GBBC. iStockphoto.com

Discover your wintertime wild neighbors by participating in the 16th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count!

It doesn't matter where you live, how old or young you are, or whether or not you're an experienced birder. The four-day Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is a chance to have fun birdwatching—and help scientists create a real-time snapshot of the range of more than 600 bird species. 

How does it work?

It's as easy as 1,2,3! Count birds for as little as 15 minutes or as long as you want over the four days of the event. Report your sightings online at GBBC. Count birds anywhere—your backyard, out your office window, in an urban park, at a nature center, on a trail—wherever you want to be, any time February 15-18 (Friday through Monday). A record-breaking 104,151 GBBC checklists were submitted last year!

How does it help?

Observations from GBBC participants like you help scientists identify patterns and trends in bird populations and movements over time. Rare sightings of individual birds out of their range occur. Irruptions (influxes of northern birds) appear. Patterns in early migrating species and range shifts can be identified and considered for more detailed studies. GBBC maps and lists are online, so you can easily look for year-to-year changes in species distribution or abundance, too.

Do you know your birds?

The bird count is a great chance for new birders to learn from others and for experts to share what they know, making the wonderful world of birds more accessible and exciting for all. For more information, including bird-ID tips, instructions, and past results, visit GBBC.

Have fun with the GBBC! And, when the weekend count is over you can still keep keep counting birds and helping scientists if you want! Submit your observations on eBird.  Explore the dynamic maps and graphs there, share your sightings with the eBird community, and be a part of bird conservation.

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