Great Backyard Bird Count 2013
At-home family fun for the long Presidents Day weekend
This February 15 through 18, your family can become a scientific research team by keeping your eyes on a convenient spot for as little as 15 minutes and reporting what kinds of birds you see and how many. You can count only once, or on as many days as you want from Friday through Monday.
Participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is free.
The GBBC website, www.birdcount.org, makes it easy for young and beginning birders to get started, with a Tricky IDs feature (under Learn About Birds) and links to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s outstanding online bird guides.
The website’s GBBC for Kids section includes a Top 10 gallery of the most likely birds and several clever bird-themed interactivities, such as a birdsong quiz and on-screen jigsaw puzzles. The household shutterbug can send in photos of your backyard sightings. Finally, entering your family’s bird tally online can extend the learning experience.
Because birds are widespread and always on the move, scientists depend on help from the rest of us to track them. The four-day GBBC gives a snapshot of how birds are surviving the winter and where they are just before spring migration begins. Scientists look at GBBC information and data from other bird surveys for early clues that a bird species is increasing or declining, or that its range is expanding or shrinking.
The Cornell Lab, the National Audubon Society, and Bird Studies Canada organize the count, which is now in its sixteenth year and is open for the first time to participants worldwide. In 2012 nature lovers of all ages and abilities submitted more than 100,000 checklists.